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, 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, 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, Christian, Craft, fantasy, Historicals, horror, Indie, MG & YA, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Reading, Rebekah L. Purdy, Romance, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Writerly Things 3/16/2020: YA Writing Tips Traci Kenworth


Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Writerly Things 3/16/2020: YA Writing Tips

Traci Kenworth

Looking for some tips for YA writing? The following instances may help you especially when you’re stuck or facing that blank page and unsure of what to write about.

Prompts.

These seem to help YA writing a lot. In truth, ANY writing. Prompts give us something to consider. Something to figure out. More to envision. They give us a lead down another road. Or into a cave. High diving from an airplane. Do something uncomfortable. Unusual. Your character picks up the weapon while leaning over a body is so cliché. But what if the body fell on them or was discovered in their luggage?

Poetry.

Practice some poetry. It’ll do wonders for your work. It’s helped me with my visuals. It’s given me stronger words to use and helped me not to settle for the ordinary. Within reason, of course. You don’t want to use a fancy word when a simple one will add better clarity. But form some charm and a twist, a more precise phrase could make the sentence all that more potent.

Writing as Often as You Can.

Nope. You don’t have to do it every day. I take the weekends off. It avoids burnout. Instead, if you just practice as regularly as you can, it’ll help. Even if it’s only ten-to-fifteen minutes. Whatever time you can manage and keep at it will get you to your goals eventually. Are you writing a YA novel? Depending on the genre, they can be 25-80k with fantasy running a bit longer but not much. Novellas run closer to the 25k mark though.

You can always check with whatever agent you query, per their recommendations for that level. Even Nathan Bransford was more along the lines of 35k-65k.

P.O.V.

POV stands for point-of-view or whose viewpoint the story’s in. Is it first person-the “I” reference? Or second-the “you” reference. Or the usual, third or “he/she” view. Any of these should be okay but the you one is the hardest, be forewarn. First is what I learned to write in. I then went to third and occasionally find my way back to first from time to time. I like both viewpoints. The first and the third can grow tiresome if all you use are “I, I, I,” or “he/she” continuously. Mix it up. Get in there and learn to switch your sentences about.

Twist them, tangle them, break them apart. Learn the rules then learn how to break them. If you SHOULD break them. Hint: it’s all right from time to time if it better the point you’re trying to get across. Keeps inside the character’s head, so to speak.

Write the Blurb First.

If you don’t know what the blurb is, it’s the summary on the back of a book that hooks the reader. You may find them on short stories, magazine articles, etc. They’re meant to pull the reader in. Most readers know whether they want to read the book by the first paragraph or not. I go by the blurb more than the cover, though a good cover helps in the purchase.

Writing the blurb first helps give you a guideline of what your book is about. Sure, there will be changes along the way but it’s easy to bring the blurb up to date. Second, when you get lost along the way, it will guide you back to where you want to go.

So, there you have it! A few tips for YA writing. Hope it helps! Have a great week, take care, and God bless!

How about some more entertainment? For laughs: Monty Python movies: one, two, three.

For suspense: one, two.

For the kids: one, two.

For YA: one, two.

For romance: one, two.

For horror: one, two.

For Christian: one, two.

Music: one.

TV: one.

Posted in blogs, Christian, Craft, fantasy, Historicals, horror, Indie, MG & YA, Music/playlists, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Paranormal, Reading, Romance, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Book Talk 3/19/2020: What I'm Reading in YA Traci Kenworth


Image by Ronny Overhate from Pixabay

Book Talk 3/15/2020: What I’m Reading in YA

Traci Kenworth

I’m reading Kalona’s Fall: A House of Night novella by Kristin and P.C. Cast, Uglies by Scott Westerfield, So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer, Through The Nethergate by Robbie Cheadle, Chosen by Kiersten White, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Subject A36 by Teri Polen, The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco, The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith, The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, How to Write a Children’s Book by the Children’s Institute of Literature, Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, How to Write Kidlit by Mary Kole, and How to Write & Sell YA by K.L. Going.

How are you doing amid the crisis? Do you have all the supplies you need? Cleaning supplies: one, two, three, four, and five.

Baby supplies: one, two, three, and four.

Hygiene Care: one, two, three.

Pets: one and two.

Grooming: one and two.

Beauty: one.

Books: one, two, three, four, and five.

Art: one, two, three and four.

Music: one, two, and three.

Movies: one and two.

Thinking of starting your own website? Try Bluehost, link to left, WordPress, link to left, or Rubix, link to left. I use Bluehost and WordPress, they’re both easy and reliable. Then there’s Jetpack, link to the left, security for your website. Definitely use this!

Stay safe and peaceful! There’s a lot of craziness out there, don’t let it get to you, or worse, become you. Take a deep breath. Remember, we’re all in this together. Take care and God bless.

Posted in Anthologies/Novellas, blogs, Christian, Craft, fantasy, Historicals, horror, Indie, MG & YA, Mystery/Thrillers, Romance, Short stories, traditional, Writing and Poetry

Book Talk 12/13/19: Books I’ve Read This Year. Traci Kenworth


Image by annca from Pixabay

Book Talk 12/13/19: List of Books Read This Year

Traci Kenworth

Books I Read in 2019

Traci Kenworth

  1. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor # 1 so far YA Fantasy
  2. Experimental Film by Gemma Files
  3. Katie’s Highlander by Maeve Grayson #1 so far Historical Romance
  4. Slayer by Kiersten White #1 YA horror
  5. Closing a Deal on Your Terms by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
  6. Bane of the Dragon King by J. Kellerford #2 YA Fantasy.
  7. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto #3 YA Fantasy
  8. Jewel in the Mud by Harmony Kent
  9. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
  10. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and John Kelley per J.K. Rowling’s permission
  11. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  12. Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
  13. The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  14. The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz
  15. How to Write a Novel by Nathan Bradford
  16. 13 Steps to Evil by Sacha Black
  17. Sullivan’s Promise by Joan Johnston
  18. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
  19. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  20. Storynomics by Robert McKee
  21. Dreams of Gods & Monsters Laini Taylor # 4 YA Fantasy.
  22. Writing Realistic Men Jackson Dean Chase
  23. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard #5 YA Fantasy
  24. Finale by Stephanie Garber # 1 YA Mystery
  25. The Night Window Dean Koontz
  26. Undead anthology
  27. Before I Sleep Adam Nevill
  28. The Evil Queen Gena Showalter #7 YA Fantasy
  29. Will Haunt You Brian Kirk
  30. Graceling by Kristin Cashore #6 YA Fantasy
  31. A Curse So Dark and Lonely Brigid Kemmerer #8 YA Fantasy
  32. 150 Fantasy Writing Prompts by Sherilyn Kenyon
  33. Our Better Angels by Jonathan Reckford
  34. Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor
  35. How to Love a Duke in Ten Days Kerrigan Bryne
  36. This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman
  37. Dragon’s Oath: A House of Night Novella by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
  38. Happily-Ever-Afters: Reimagining of Snow White and Rose Red by Melanie Cellier
  39. Setting by Jack M. Bickman
  40. The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller
  41. Windwitch by Susan Dennard
  42. Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake
  43. The Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
  44. The Freelancer’s Survival Guide by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  45. The House at the Bottom of the Lake by Josh Malerman
  46. Surviving the Transition by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
Posted in blogs, Christian, Craft, fantasy, Historicals, horror, MG & YA

Writerly Things 12/9/19: Top YA Books in 2019, imo. Traci Kenworth


Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Writerly Things 12/9/19: Top YA Books of 2019, imo.

Traci Kenworth

  1. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor #1 YA Fantasy
  2. Slayer by Kierstan White #1 YA Horror
  3. Finale by Stephanie Garber #1 YA Mystery
  4. Bane of the Dragon King by J. Kellerford #2 YA Fantasy
  5. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pan Preto #3 YA Fantasy
  6. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor #4 YA Fantasy
  7. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard #5 YA Fantasy
  8. Graceling by Kristine Cashore #6 YA Fantasy
  9. The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter #7 YA Fantasy
  10. A Curse So Dark & Lonely Brigid Kemmerer #8 YA Fantasy
  11. Windwitch by Susan Dennard #9 YA Fantasy
  12. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and John Kelly
  13. The Devouring Grey by Christine Lynn Herman

I’m still reading some so this list might change before the 30th of Dec. but I think this is pretty well set. Have a great week, take care, and God Bless!

Posted in blogs, fantasy, Historicals, MG & YA

Book Talk 10/18/19: Melanie Cellier’s Happily Ever Afters Traci Kenworth


spider on web
cover Happily Ever Afters Melanie Cellier

Book Talk 10/18/19: Melanie Cellier’s Happily Ever Afters

Traci Kenworth

Happily Ever Afters: Reimagining of Snow White and Rose Red by Melanie Cellier.

Amazon’s blurb: Sometimes a fairy tale ending is only the beginning…

Sarah and Evelyn have already risked everything to help Ava win a crown. But they soon learn that a coronation is a beginning, not an ending. Not everyone in Rangmere is happy to see the young queen on the throne, and intrigue and danger lurk all around.

The cousins find themselves fighting not only for their new kingdom but also for their own survival in the royal court. When a new threat emerges, the two girls must defeat it to both save the crown and secure their own Happily Ever Afters.

Happily Ever Afters is a novella of approximately 35,000 words.

If you enjoy clean romance, adventure and intrigue, then try the books in The Four Kingdoms series now! Each of these young adult fairy tale retellings can be read as a standalone story. However, for greatest enjoyment, they should be read in order.

The Four Kingdoms Reading Order:

   The Princess Companion: A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea (Book One)

  The Princess Fugitive: A Reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood (Book Two)

  Happily Every Afters: A Reimagining of Snow White and Rose Red (Novella)

  The Princess Pact: A Twist on Rumpelstiltskin (Book Three)

  A Midwinter’s Wedding: A Retelling of The Frog Prince (Novella)

  The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty (Book Four)

  The Princess Search: A Retelling of The Ugly Duckling (Book Five)
*This is a second edition published using US English*

Book Review: LOVED it! The stories of Evelyn’s and Sarah’s adventures in the Kingdom of Rangmere are exciting! With Ava and Hans on the throne, the trouble with the kingdom is just beginning. Evelyn takes on the role as the Queen’s Guard and Sarah begins to sweep the court for a husband. Evelyn finds herself at odds with the other guards all but one who she discovers is no guard. Meanwhile, Sarah stumbles upon the son of the most powerful man in Rangmere and worries he might be involved in a conspirancy against her friends. Both girls push for the truth and fall into a darkness they might not escape from.

Such a suspenseful book! Evelyn and Sarah are drawn well. The plot flows well. The kingdom is exciting if a bit dangerous.

Posted in Historicals, Romance, traditional

Excerpt for The Widow of Rose House


cover of The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

Excerpt from Chapter Three              

By Nicole Tone          

Her heart raced. There was a crushing weight on her chest that made it impossible to catch her breath. The voicemail alert went off and Sophie shook. First her hands, then her teeth, chattering like it was the dead of winter.

Did she want this night ruined too?

Wasn’t it already ruined?

Reaching for her phone, she swiped the message, letting the voicemail play over speakerphone. She stood in her kitchen, pot of noodles on the stove she no longer was hungry for, and waited for her world to come crashing down all over again.

“Hi Soph. It’s Dad. It’s around six here, so nine there. I figured you might be home by now. Maybe you’re at work.”

Sophie raised her eyebrow. She hadn’t heard from him since their Skype chat at Christmas. It was normal for them, Sophie’s schedule making keeping in touch with anyone difficult, not counting the physical distance and time difference between Buffalo and Seattle. She’d send him a rambling e-mail here and there, but phone calls were in short supply.

“I was just calling to see how things were. I, uh, talked to your mother and wanted to run something by you. See if you’d be open to the idea. Anyway, give me a call when you can. This is my new number. My old phone now lives with the giant squid. Love you, kid.”

Pouring the now-cooked pasta into the strainer, she pondered over the voicemail. It made sense they’d get a new number; he’d kept his one from here despite living out west for almost two decades. To finally assimilate to his new home was a big step.

She called him back, phone on speaker as she finished dinner.                                                      

“Hey kid.”

“Hey Dad. Giant squid, huh?”

He laughed, warm and sweet as memories. It was the warm summer afternoons she played out on rock beaches as a kid. The Earl Grey and honey on days when it stormed. This had been the way things were for as long as she had been able to make memories. It was only when she started working that her summers with him stopped.

“Yeah. I was trying to take a picture of some orcas I saw while I was on the ferry and, well, I dropped my phone.”

“Seattle’s way of forcing you to become one of them?”

“I guess so.”

Silence fell between them as she scooped the pasta into a bowl. Dinner for one, but enough for two. She’d have leftovers for tomorrow.

“So,” he started, “I guess I should tell you why I called.”

“Yeah, probably.” Sophie laughed. “Or we can keep talking about how Seattle is swallowing you whole.”

“Well, I actually sold my place in the city.”

“Oh?” The loft had been her favorite. She could sit on the floor, legs crossed, watching the ebb and flow of traffic, both car and ferry. The space had been bright and modern, from what she understood of the word as it applied to interior architecture. But more than that, the loft reflected the mix of new and old Seattle embraced. Sophie wanted to live in something similar one day — a dream closer to becoming a reality the more real estate developers took over Buffalo’s deserted buildings.

Selling the loft should have felt like a bigger betrayal. Like she was losing a piece of her, the way it had felt when her mom sold the house Sophie and Will had grown up in. Sophie’d hated painting over the drawings on her closet wall, the mural on her ceiling, any piece of personality so potential buyers could really see themselves living in that space. But the loft wasn’t home. It was the place Sophie and Will would spend a night or two when they’d come visit during the summer just to do city things: Pike’s Place, catch a Sounders game, explore the EMP. It was a stepping-stone in between SeaTac and the ferry that ushered them out to the peninsula for the summer.

“I’m a full time Port Townsend resident now. Port . . . Townie?”

Sophie rolled her eyes and laughed. “Port Townsend . . . ite. Maybe. I don’t think they’d appreciate you calling them townies, Dad.”

“Yeah, I’m still figuring out the terminology. One of the big tech companies wanted to buy the building, so between that and retirement, I figured what the hell.”

“But you kept the summer house, right?”

“That’s where I’m living full time.”

The summer house sat outside a quiet Victorian town that saw more tourists than locals.

To Sophie, it was the version of home she equated with her dad. She loved the area, how quiet it was, protected between mountains and ocean. As a siren bounced off her apartment building, Sophie wished she was at the summer house now, waves her lullaby instead of the sounds of the city.                                                          

Diana Biller

Posted in blogs, Historicals, horror, Indie, MG & YA, SF, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry

Seven Links 2/23/19 Traci Kenworth


abstract

Seven links…2/23/19

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. http://megdowell.com/2019/02/16/12-reasons-youre-not-getting-any-better-at-this-whole-writing-thing/What does “better” even mean, anyway?”

2. https://killzoneblog.com/2019/02/the-last-fifty-pages-make-or-break-your-novel.html “We’ve all been through it. We get caught up in a book or movie, we’re cruising along, liking everything about the story and then … the ending stinks.” He’s got a good point. Sometimes an ending just ruins everything that came before. You lose your heart for the story.

3. https://ryanlanz.com/2019/02/17/make-your-readers-cry-writing-emotional-scenes/ “I watched The Hunger Games last night. I read the book before the movie came out, and I’ve seen the movie a few times. So I obviously knew what would happen. Still, a certain scene got me.”

4. https://twodropsofink.com/2019/02/17/writing-prompts-contest/ “Recently, we published Christopher Fox’s 100 Prompts to Get the Ink Flowing. These prompts were some of the best I’ve seen.”

5. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2019/02/17/5-ways-to-find-out-more-about-agents/ “Querying agents is daunting, exciting, difficult, wonderful…there are so many ways to feel during the process. Each submission is different (or at least it should be), because each agent is different.” You can also consult Manuscript Wish Lists via twitter.

6. http://booksbywomen.org/my-writing-tips-and-advice-by-ellie-douglas/ “Don’t let any disabilities stop you from writing. If writing is your passion and you have dyslexia or are on the Autism spectrum disorder and struggle with English, just don’t let it detour you. You can always dictate your story to a recorder and have it typed out by another. You can also get a ghost writer. Whatever you do, follow your heart and passions. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Believe in yourself always”

7. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/things-your-character-is-hiding/# “Being able to write realistic, consistent, multi-dimensional characters is vital to gaining reader interest. Doing so first requires we know a lot about who our characters are—you know, the obvious stuff: positive and negative traits, behavioral habits, desires, goals, and the like. But it’s not always the obvious parts of characterization that create the most intrigue. What about the things your character is hiding?”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://sistersofthefey.com/2019/02/16/crystals-chiastolite/ “Chiastolite is a stunning crystal.  It exhibits a cross pattern in a cross section. It may be brown or green with a black cross pattern.”

2. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/angel-messages-february-17-2019/

3. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/its-a-goof-off-weekend/ “I sent off a big portion Serang to my critique partners. One has already trickled back, and I’m sure the others will in the next few days. It’s a good time to pause this one. She and her master wandered to the high desert, far from the Emperor’s focus. There are soldiers here, but the main focus is along the Northern Coast.”

4. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2019/02/18/fantasy-armies-popular-tools-of-the-trade/ “This theme is probably going to be very similar to the City Guards week from December, but that isn’t surprising.  Guards and soldiers get used interchangeably in a lot of fiction because they are part of the setting.  The nameless warriors who are there to either be in the background, push the heroes to the next plot point, or be taken out in a scene to show how powerful/evil the villain is.  Yet, there is one subtle difference between the two that drives me to do a week for the military characters.  So, what am I talking about?”

5. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/who-are-some-of-your-favorite-fantasy-writers/ I agree with those mentioned as well as add Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, Mary Stewart, Susan Cooper, Phil Pullman, and C.S. Lewis.

6. https://somethingferal.com/2019/02/20/dear-don-ghaist-stanes/ “Had the inadvertent blooding of the book indeed been a ritual, I would have minded far less, as such would hark back to the oldest rites, continuing the thread of vicarious sacrifice reaching even into the heart of Christianity.”

7. https://allaboutwritingandmore.com/2019/02/19/hummus-toast-8-ways-gimme-some-oven/

Some Things More Serious

1. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2019/02/16/goal-post-winter-break-as-a-teacher-assistant/ “Where to even start with this week?  Well, I took my son to see Lego Movie 2 last Sunday, so we’ll start there.  Not as good as the first one, but still very entertaining.  I like how they incorporated both worlds this time.  It’s more musical than its predecessor, which isn’t a bad thing.  They had fun with it and there are some fun twists.  We went to the Lego Store afterwards to pick up some sets since you can’t take a kid to a Lego movie and expect him to not get some afterwards.  This was a great way to end last weekend . . . and step into a really odd week.”

2. https://barbtaub.com/2019/02/20/are-you-a-wilbur-or-a-sheela-humor-power-metoo/ “I don’t understand how it happened. When did we women blow it? When my sisters and I grew up in the ‘70s, they told us we were now men’s equals in everything except whapping large bugs, resetting the digital clocks after power failures, and playing football. All this while retaining our natural superiority in the areas of childbearing, putting new rolls of toilet paper on the spindle, and choosing wallpaper. And we bought it.”

3. https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/musiville-a-teachers-tale/ “I teach English as a foreign language to young children. From my experience, at these ages, if you give them exercises and grammar rules they will soon loathe the classroom. I love the English language and would not want any of my students to come to hate it, so I always look for fun activities to promote both learning and pleasure. And, if I can keep my class happy, creative but calm, I am in teacher heaven.” I love to see a teacher encourage reading!

4. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/new-series-smorgasbord-health-column-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiency/ “Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.”

5. https://storyempire.com/2019/02/20/are-you-distracted/ “Often the things designed to make our lives more comfortable are the things that distract us most. One of the biggest culprits is our smartphone. For most of us, these little devices are never far away. We keep them on our desks and pull them out at restaurants.”

6. https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/more-challenges-faced-by-indie-authors/ “This is the second in a series of posts centered on the challenges faced by indie authors as we try to compete in the vast ocean of competitors/cohorts that is filled with sharks and other predators. Here are more that I’ve come up with to get you thinking and to foster a discussion:”

7. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/talking-death-and-dying-with-children-part-3/ “Death is really the grand finale to the circle of life.  It encompasses all we experience; friendship, sadness, love, fear, joy… it is a fitting end to the memories of living.  One book that gives the greatest tribute to life, death, and everything in between is Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White.  It is my #1 read-aloud every school year.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://authorsteveboseley.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/serial-saturday-horror-im-watching-you-6/ “Today I have Part #6 of my horror story, I’m Watching You. It’s the story of MIKE’S decent into madness as he struggles to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined.”

2. https://rachelpoli.com/2019/02/17/short-story-sunday-252-admit-flash-fiction/Gina opened the front door to her house and poked her head in. Neither one of her parents were in the living room. She didn’t hear anything coming from the kitchen either. Hopefully, her father was in the basement and her mother was in their bedroom. She entered the house and closed the door softly behind her. She wasn’t in the mood to talk to them. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to, but she didn’t want to lie to them.”

3. https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/02/16/februarys-speculative-fiction-prompt-anjana-and-trina/

4. http://wherewordsdailycomealive.com/2019/02/18/only-for-you-lord/

5. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/romantictuesday-open-line/

6. https://erikakind.me/2019/02/18/daily-kind-quote-862/

7. https://mjmallon.com/2019/02/19/flash-fiction-unusual-valentines/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, Releases, & Author Interviews:

1. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-james-j-cudney-paulette-mahurin-and-jean-lee/ “Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and the first author with a recent review is James J. Cudney for the second book in his Braxton Campus Mysteries – Broken Heart Attack.”

2. https://pitchwars.org/happy-release-day-to-just-for-clicks-by-past-mentee-kara-mcdowell/ “I’m so excited for the release of Kara McDowell’s JUST FOR CLICKS today! Kara was mine and Heather Cashman’s Pitch Wars mentee in 2016. She was such a hard worker and even had to revise between giving birth to her beautiful son. Both Heather and I were excited to work with Kara from the moment we read her manuscript. We feel we really lucked out. The family bonds and drama in the book is what drew me in the most. The book has changed so much from the time I first read it, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for readers to meet Claire, her family, and especially Rafael!”

3. https://culturevultureexpress.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/the-runaway-jury-by-john-grisham-review/ “The Runaway Jury (1996) by John Grisham is a great mystery with many intriguing layers to both the plot and the various characters involved. It was Grisham’s seventh novel.”

4. https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/the-ace-carroway-and-the-blog-monster-blog-tour/ “Please join me in welcoming Author, Guy Worthey to my blog. Guy is a talented writer and an all around impressive guy dude. I’m excited to feature his The Adventures of Ace Carroway series here.”

5. https://teripolen.com/2019/02/18/amwriting-escaperooms-and-petsematary/ “I’m still working on the second draft at a snail-sloth pace (Thanks for the new word, Sarah!), but progress is being made.  So that’s a plus.  Thanks for all the positivity sent my way last week – it certainly helped!  I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but this will be a duology, a new feat for me.  It’s not something I planned, but the characters let me know their story wasn’t finished, and with YA books, it’s generally frowned upon to have a word count much higher than 80K.”

6. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2019/02/18/e-k-johnston-your-brain-is-a-forest/ “One of the first things my doctor told me when we started to get into the nitty-gritty of mental health and depression was that your brain is like a forest. The more often you travel a path, from thought to result, the easier it gets. This is why intrusive thoughts and negatives are so damaging: they use napalm to clear the way instead of a machete, and they’re really hard to shake. If you wake up and read something bad, it becomes easy to hate waking up. But if you start each morning reading the text message where your nephew tells his mum he’s decided to be an author because he loves you, eventually you start to like waking up. You have to cut a new path, and keep walking it.”

7. https://pitchwars.org/happy-release-day-to-moonsworn-by-past-mentee-amber-renard/ “Kel O’Conley, DVM, treats supernaturals and their pets. Where else can a witch take a talking familiar for vaccinations or vampires get a stake removed? Kel wants experience in her field before returning to her pack. She’s fought tooth and claw for her dream and nothing will stop her.”