Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, horror,, 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, 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.


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?


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.


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 blogs, Craft, dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, Indie, MG & YA, Reading, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry

Book Talk 2/26/2020: What I’m Reading in YA Traci Kenworth

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Book Talk 2/7/2020: What I’m Reading in YA

Traci Kenworth

Nefertiti’s Curse (a House of Night novella) by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast, Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard, Sightwitch by Susan Dennard, The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman, How to Write a Children’s Book from the Institute of Children’s Literature, The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith, The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco, Dark Alley by Mike Anka, Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin, and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I will shortly be adding to this list and hope to add, an arc by Robbie Cheadle. #reading #book #books #dark fantasy #fantasy #craft

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

Five Links 2/26/2020 Traci Kenworth

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Five Links 2/8/2020

Traci Kenworth


1. “There are times when I need ten minutes of The Three Stooges. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve spent a long day writing some tough pages. Or you were bottled up in your cubicle at work, untangling your boss’s mess. Or maybe you were caught up in the latest news cycle, and you find yourself neck deep in the blues.

That’s what the Stooges are for. You don’t have to think. In fact thinking is precisely the wrong thing to do when watching the boys.

Now, I know the Stooges are not everyone’s comedic cup o’ noodles. Moe is often hard to take. Anything could set him off and get you a slap in the face or, worse, two fingers in the eyes. I had my run-ins with bullies as a kid, so Moe always made me uncomfortable (in real life, Moe Howard was a delightful man—who I met—and a great storyteller about the film business and the history of the Stooges).

But there is always Curly to save the day by giving us a nice, hearty belly laugh. (When Curly suffered a stroke in 1947, he was replaced by his and Moe’s real brother, Shemp. Most of my kid contemporaries didn’t like Shemp, but I did. While no one could ever replace Curly, Shemp is funny in his own way.)” Looking at these, I can see why in my earlier works they were so in-your-face. Awful. The staged dialogue bits just ring false.


3. I think everything can be done in moderation. Once you give in to your writing, you’ll want to spend more time doing that than doing some of the things you used to do such as internet, TV, etc.

4. “The start of the year is when I pay close attention to what is happening in our industry: what publishers and organizations are focusing on, the changes occurring on sales platforms, and what author advocates are suggesting writers pay attention to in order to succeed.

One of the big things I keep reading over and over is that 2020 will be a year where many authors will invest in tools and services to help them do more.”

So with that in mind, I have a roundup of resources that can help you be more productive and write stronger fiction, faster. Even better, they all have a free trial or version so you can test them out before investing, or they are a free resource altogether.

5. “By now, if you’re a writer or an aspiring writer, you’ve heard all the advice about what it takes to get your story down on paper. Write consistently, plow through a crappy first draft, toughen up and learn to take criticism and rejection, read a lot of other people’s books.

But people don’t talk as often about the weird-o things that keep the pages coming. When I wrote One Night Gone, my first novel, a suspense, cold-case mystery set in a beach town during the off-season, it was hard to find the time to write. I have a full-time job and an 8-year-old son, and I was a longtime editor of an online literary journal until very recently. Plus, you know, occasionally I like to sleep and watch a little TV or something. 

So I had to find the small stuff to help keep me motivated. Here are a few surprising things that worked for me.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “For the first time ever, I’m turning Fantasy Author’s Handbook over to another author, and one who’s been dead for almost eighty-three years. Love him or hate him, H.P. Lovecraft is one of the undying masters of horror and dark fantasy fiction. This essay, apparently written in 1933 but first published in the May-June 1937 issue of Amateur Correspondent, draws back the covers on not just his reasons for writing horror fiction, but describes his process as well.  Though not as detailed or proscriptive as Lester Dent’s Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot, Lovecraft’s five-step process is certainly worth a look-see, and I’m going to try my hand at his method in the weeks ahead. I’ll let you know how that works out, but in the meantime, I give you, in its entirety…”


3. ““Crepuscular!” He was getting desperate now, having exhausted his list of the most obscure words. His face fell as I gave him the definition. He tried another and scowled… “How do you do that?”

“I read.” The words he dangled before me, trying to catch me out, may not be common in verbal usage, but they have cropped up often  enough in books to learn their meaning through meeting them in different contexts and from different angles. Except for unfamiliar technical terms, I don’t look up words when I read. It isn’t necessary to fully understand every word to experience a story… you need, instead, to enter fully into the tale and feel it as you read.  Over decades of reading, you encounter words in so many phrases that your understanding of their layers of meaning evolves and eventually becomes clear.

For me, that seems the best way to expand…”

4. “People often say they want to write a book. I used to say that too.

In 1985 I came across my first stumbling block on my path to becoming a writer. I didn’t know it, but to go from dreamer to storyteller is easy. Anyone can do it.

But if we choose to become an author, we’re taking a walk through an unknown landscape.

And the place where we go from dreamer to storyteller to author is the hardest part.

At first the path is gentle and easy to walk. As children, we invent stories and tell them to ourselves. As adults, we daydream about the stories we want to read, and we tell them to ourselves.

That part of the walk is easy. At some point, we become brave enough to sit down and put the story on paper.

The blank screen or paper is like an empty pond. All we have to do is add words, and the story will tell itself.

The first impedance that would-be authors come to on their way to filling the word-pond with words is a wide, deep river. It’s running high and fast with a flood of “what ifs” and partially visualized ideas.”


Some Things More Serious:



3. “What if we believed women? That’s the question at the heart of the new anthology Believe Me, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti which gathers together more than two-dozen leading voices on gender, power, and the most pressing issues shaping feminism today. Among them are Dahlia Lithwick and Moira Donegan, who came together for a conversation on the ways in which institutions are ill-equipped to address violence against women along with the systemic failures on display during the Kavanaugh hearings in 2018.


Dahlia Lithwick: Hi Moira. I loved your essay on the way early psychoanalysis failed to address women’s trauma but it also broke my heart a bit. The parallel narratives of Dr. Freud attempting to talk truthfully about women and sexual assault and then being forced to retract it to save his career, while Bertha Pappenheim had to save herself by escaping the world of men and building a life in feminist advocacy and organizing, feels all too contemporary to me; you can pass in a man’s world or you can be full throated in a woman’s world, but never dare to hope for more.

In my essay I tried to get at the ways in which the machinery of our ostensibly neutral justice system is propped up by the machinery of agents, lobbyists, pricey attorneys, and all the things that mean—to paraphrase our colleague Irin Carmon—that the system is in the room, toiling at great expense to press and defend the narrative you depict as “the rapist as an upstanding man, their memory of the past as happy or peaceful.” I wonder what you think about what happens when women in mainstream media are essentially forced to choose between Pappenheim’s lane and Freud’s? We can try to forge through the turgid he says/she says conventions, or we can try to invent new forms with which to do journalism. Are we making any headway, covering abuse and assault in the mainstream press? And are we taking care of ourselves as we do the work?”

4. “n a photo studio high above midtown Manhattan, five of the most accomplished new voices in young adult fiction have gathered. While getting glammed up, Tomi Adeyemi, Akwaeke Emezi, Elizabeth Acevedo, Angie Thomas, and Nic Stone chat about everything from preferred moisturizers to career updates, the latter of which there are several. Only yesterday, Emezi’s Pet was named a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature—a prize Acevedo nabbed the previous year with The Poet X. Stone was gearing up to release three new books (JackpotClean Getaway, and Shuri). Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, which reportedly landed her a seven-figure deal, was being adapted by Fox 2000/Lucasfilm. And Thomas’s The Hate U Give was holding strong at or near the top of the New York Times Young Adult Hardcover Best Sellers list (141 weeks and counting).”

5. “In a recent media interview (yes, I am that cool), I was asked if as a literary agent I liked saying “no.” I answered emphatically—even a bit rudely, I’m afraid, as I started my answer before my questioner finished asking. “I hate it,” I said. It’s a part of the job. In fact, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named sometimes answers the question, “Steve Laube, what do you do?” by saying, “I say no for a living.”

That’s close enough to the truth to sting. A lot. Way down deep. But no one—at this agency, at least—enjoys saying “no.” We do it a lot, but we hate it every time. Well, except for the one person who compared her proposed book to this Christian agent to E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey.

But otherwise, it’s no fun to say “no.” And, I know, it’s no fun to hear “no,” either. Believe me, I hear it far too often, both as an agent and as an author myself. But it makes a difference how you hear the word “no.” The temptation is to hear, “not you.” Or even “you stink.” Even, sometimes, “give up.” But none of those are helpful, and they’re far from accurate, in the vast majority of cases. How should you hear “no?” I suggest five ways:”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:


2. “Jamie had gone to bed as soon as the others had left and Merlin had followed shortly afterwards. He was still considering the problem of the barguest as he undressed and threw his clothes in a heap on the chair.

Not a pretty sight, Merlin! Must you look so old, dear one?”  Merlin made a lunge for a dressing gown to cover his nakedness, only to find an intruder sitting on it, employing very similar tactics to Heilyn’s sheep. He retreated behind the inadequate cover provided by a small towel and swore graphically.

“Aren’t you pleased to see me, dearest?” The lithe figure reclining on the bed stretched provocatively, trapping the dressing gown ever more firmly beneath her. Long black hair billowed across the bedspread in curling tendrils and the diaphanous gown left little doubt that most men would be very pleased to see her. Merlin bowed with considerable dignity, holding tightly to his towel.”




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “I am visiting the lovely Sue Vincent‘s blog with a post about the Old Man of the Sea and how I wove this myth into a short paranormal story I wrote. Thank you, Sue, for hosting me.


In Greek Mythology, the Old Man of the Sea is the term used for several water-gods, purported to have existed since the beginning of time. The water-gods most often referred to in terms of this expression are Nereus, the eldest son of Gaia and her son, Pontus, and Proteus, a prophetic water-god whom was referred to as “Old Man of the Sea” by Homer. Triton, a Greek god of the sea and the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite; Pontus, an ancient, pre-Olympian sea-god and the fatherless son of Gaia; Phorcys or Phorcus, a primedial sea god and the son of Pontus and Gaia, and Glaucus, a Greek prophetic sea-god born mortal and turned immortal as a result of eating a magical herb, are also referred to using this expression.”

2. “Welcome to my new children’s book series which will run for February and March 2020. I have a wonderful selection of children’s books by both Indie and traditionally published authors lined up and will be sharing these posts on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

I have selected The Land of Far Beyond to review for this first post because it is my favourite children’s books. I remembered reading it, as a young girl, but it was a library book and I couldn’t remember the title or author. All I could remember was that it was a children’s version of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. When my first son was born and I started buying all the books that had enchanted”

3. “It’s been a while since I’ve written a Monday Musings post, but there’s been something weighing on my mind that I want to share.

Being a published author is a huge gift. A dream come true. Seeing my book on the shelf at bookstores always puts a smile on my face. In truth, I have a very soft spot in my heart for bookstores. When I worked for a major book distributor in the late 90s, there was a huge dust-up after a major retailer wanted to handle all the company’s distribution in the U.S. This made dozens of stores, whom the company served, reach out in protest. The deal never went through, but after that incident many smaller bookstores began to close their doors. After that, I still insisted on spending my money at my local stores because I understood how important they were to my community.

In the mid-2010s, the small bookseller had a resurgence. This fact made me so happy. Finally, once again there was a local place where I could spend my dollars rather than a chain. Back then, I was just a reader and not a published writer yet.

Once my first book was published, I was excited to finally get to work hand-in-hand with some of my favorite bookstores around the country. But when it came time to approach some of those stores to do events, I was surprised by the rigorous requirements they required of a debut author. One store made me fill out a five-page application along with the reasonings why it was “in the store’s best interest” to host me. I painstakingly filled out all the paperwork, including adding another author to the mix so that we could draw a larger crowd. The event coordinator at the store did not respond to follow-up emails. When they finally did, it was with a terse one line reply that basically said “No thank you.” That’s a shame. I would hope local bookstores would be more welcoming to a debut author. Perhaps, it’s just the name they want.


What I know: a boy in my class will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved…”


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 a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, fantasy, gothic, horror, Indie, Links, Links, MG & YA, Reading, Short stories, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry

Five Links 11/9/19 Traci Kenworth

portrait fantasy

Five Links 11/9/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “Not every writer is interested in style. If they can write lean, mean plots that move, with interesting characters and a satisfying ending, that’s enough. They’d rather write fast and turn out more work than spend extra time trying to find the “right” words.

Isaac Asimov was such a writer. He purposely developed a stripped-down style so he could churn out the books. He was once asked what he would do if he found out he had just six months to live. “Type faster,” he said.” I can see both sides. I want my stories to be the most important, but I’d love to add a little zip to things. I read poetry every other morning and keep a journal for morning writing or those late-night thoughts.




5. “Audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment in publishing, but how do you make sure your books sound good in audio?

How can you improve your writing so listeners come back for more of your books?

In this interview, Jules Horne gives some tips for audio-first writing.”

Research & Some Fun Bits:

1. “I do try to live my life with the adage of ‘Do unto others’ mantra. That’s what inspired me to share this comment I received. I try my best to keep my blog ‘clean’ and not crowded, and thought I’d pass on a few tips. Now, I do know that sometimes my blog posts will have the occasional wonky formating in them – courtesy of WordPress and theme not playing nice. But I do use the ‘preview’ before scheduling a post to make sure it doesn’t look wonky, and sometimes, there are conditions beyond my control, which I will always state on my blog so that others don’t think I’m being sloppy. So below, I’ll mention a few options we have in our WordPress editors to enhance the reader’s experience.” Comments usually show me what readers like and don’t like.

2. “Today’s post is the second of a 4-part series that started with DesignCap’s review. The series explores three sites that can help you create stunning visuals and offer a free version.

As a bonus, some of them will give away free subscriptions to the first five of my readers to click on the links at the end!

How EDIT can help you

EDIT is an online graphics editor service. It promises to simplify your design experience by offering you a bunch of templates to choose from.”


4. “As an introvert, I was surprised to find one of my favorite things about being an author is in-person events. Because y’all are seriously so fun to meet and connect with. Here are just a few encounters I’ve had in my year of being published:

I don’t know what it is, but kids are always interested in my table. I need kids books.

A girl around 6 years old wanted my psychopathic murderer book. Her mom told her when she got older she’d be able to read a book that big. Skipped right over the whole scary murderous part, just said she needed to work her way up to bigger books. #parentinggoals, am I right?

I told the girl she could take a collectors card instead, and she picked up Cami’s BFF, a real safe choice.” Her readers sound a-mazing!


Some Things More Serious:






Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. “Diana over at mythsofthemirror has a new challenge out for November:
Write from the point of view of a creature that doesn’t exist in the “real” world.”

2. “Dear friends, as some of you know that our dear Hélèneused to do this Prompt and after her sad departure, I have felt that this gap needs to be filled. I have decided to take this challenge up and as a trial, I will post 4 challenges for the next 4 Mondays at 12:00 am PST, every Monday morning. And we shall see where to go from there. I hope that you will” I enjoy prompts. I learn something new every time. Currently, I’m working with another writer to improve my craft at short stories.




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:


2. “It’s all candy cane cupcakes and peppermint coffee until you find a dead elf on your doorstep.

Only the elf wasn’t a real elf, because elves don’t actually exist – not even at Christmas time. A college student dressed like an elf decided taking a nap in sub-zero winter temps was a good idea. It wasn’t. Anna, the pink-haired baker extraordinaire of Callie’s Cakes, is convinced the student’s death was not an accident. She drags Callie and Kristie along with her as she attempts to discover who killed the elf … um… student.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the killer before Christmas is ruined?”


4. name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

5. “Let me try again. Serang was a popular character in Voyage of the Lanternfish. Her origin is pretty amazing, and Craig decided to turn that into a book. It supports the Lanternfish trilogy, but isn’t part of the trilogy. It also helps quell that urge for more Lanternfish while he finishes writing the remaining tales.

Serang’s father was a fisherman, and he died when she was very young. Her mother abandoned her at a monastery, and she was raised by monks. She learned things she never would have learned otherwise, like reading, writing, and martial arts. She also adopted a lifestyle of service to others and sharing what she has.

Fathers are kind of a driving force behind Voyage of the Lanternfish. James became who he is, because of his father’s actions. Dan also had some father issues he dealt with, and even Mal dealt with some of this from the father’s point of view.

Serang never let go of her father, either. Her memories are limited to the idea that he was a fisherman. She and her master were helping a village, because the Emperor took nearly everything they have for his”

Posted in blogs, Indie, MG & YA, Reading, traditional

Book Talk 8/16/19 What I’m Reading in YA Traci Kenworth


Book Talk 8/16/19: What I’m Reading in YA

Traci Kenworth

I’m reading Brigind Kenner’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Beauty and the Beast retelling), Susan Dennard’s Windwitch and Sightwitch( a prequel to the Witchlands series), Kristine Cashore’s Graceling, Dragon’s Oath by P.C. and Kristen Cast, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Happily Ever After by Melanie Cellier and The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco.

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

Seven Links 3/2/19 Traci Kenworth


Seven Links 3 2 19

Traci Kenworth


1. not fear! You’re just getting started.”

2. “What is the most important thing your novel must accomplish with the opening pages?”

3. “The writer’s life can often be full of what my friend calls “haterade”: we have self-hatred (how many of you have beat yourself up more than once?), we have Inner Critics who hate on us, and real critics, and readers on Goodreads who forget authors have feelings. We have beta readers or critique partners or teaches who might throw shade on us or our work. Then there are the publishers and booksellers: a challenging dynamic between artist and manufacturer/distributor if ever there was one.”

4. “Hi, SEers. Mae here hoping everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Today, I’m rolling out a topic that’s dear to my heart—unplugging. In our technology-crazed, social media-driven, always-on-world, unplugging is a necessity. Did you know there is even a National Unplug Day in the U.S.?  March 1-2 sundown to sundown has been declared the National Unplug day in 2019 for those pledging to go a full twenty-four hours device free. You can find more information on this website and even download a free tool kit with activity guides and conversation starters.”

5. “In the traditional publishing world, milestones define the production cycle of a book.  You turn in the manuscript, then you get the global edit from the editor.  Next come the larger structural changes and you turn those in.  Copy edits are next, those niggling little change-which-to-that kinds of changes.  (Or why did-that-guy’s-name-change-between-Chapter-Four-and-Chapter-Fifteen kinds of changes.)”

6. “Often, however, writers are invited, asked, pressured, or even hornswaggled (look it up if you have to) into writing for free. Sometimes that’s good. Often it’s bad.”

7. “In years of teaching writing workshops and doing too many critiques to count, I had never really thought about that. I weaseled my way through the answer, saying that it was a feeling of sorts, that you just had to trust your instincts, find your style. More word gumbo about gotta have rhythm and there were no rules…”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “We knew the story… we had discussed it long before Stuart had started working with it. The ‘hero’ was a historical king who lived around five thousand years ago. About a thousand years later, tales of his doings, combining events both real and symbolic, were collected and written down. Given the way that history…and particularly folk history… works, the scribe probably included tales once told of even older characters, going back seven thousand years or more, and reassigned them to our Hero.  A few hundred years later, they were standardised under the title ‘He who Saw the Abyss’…”

2. very poignant post about our world today and how many non-humans need help from those attuned, to pass over. This is a post that needs reading, sisters.” 

3. “t’s still unseasonably cool. The therapeutic effect of warm temperatures and sun hasn’t arrived, although the patient plants are trying to pick up where they left off in January. 
The garden has that battered and squashed look produced by two bouts of strong northeast winds, days of below freezing temperatures, and almost a foot of the white stuff.”



6. “Stellar Jays live in the pine forests in Southern California’s mountains.”

7. following extract is taken from my how-to books and explains about two key printing terms: ‘trim size’ and ‘bleed’.”

Some Things More Serious:


2. “As writers, we know the importance reading has made in our lives. That is why holidays that support reading for kids are a big deal with me–well, that and the fact I’m also a teacher! In the United States, we celebrate Read Across America Day annually on March 2. This coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss, one of the most beloved and iconic children’s writers and perfect for any read-aloud.”

3. “Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how people and society tend to declare what is normal.  Part of this has probably stemmed from my son being special needs and seeing how the world responds to him.  We seem to take ‘normal’ for granted even though I can’t even truly define it for this post.  You hear people point out oddities more than normalcy, which makes it feel like being odd is the only way to be an individual.  Yet, we’ve also stigmatized many differences including those that require special attention or medical help.  Overall, I have the opinion that most humans cannot exist without seeing something ‘beneath’ them.  That flawed person to make you feel superior because then you’d be the one at the bottom.  It’s fairly sickening.”

4. “Some writers might look at that title and respond incredulously: “When isn’t writing hard?” But as I’m sure all writers everywhere can attest, there are times when writing is hard in the normal sense and times when it’s hard hard.”

5. “Being a writer can be traumatizing.

Back in October I finished writing Silent Mayhem, a book that deeply affected me.

Sure, I was passionate about the story — I wouldn’t have written it otherwise — but it morphed into more than that; it slashed open another part of me.

I’m still not sure if I’m feeling my own emotions or my character’s, the line between reality and fiction blurred beyond a rational explanation.”

6. “In my previous post, I mentioned how I’ve just hit my ten-year blogging anniversary and the surprising things that brought. So it’s high time to revisit the first book I ever published under my real name – and today I’m proud to present the Nail Your Novel Workbook!”

7. “The name Douglas MacArthur conjures up the image of a maverick World War II hero who liberated the Philippines and rebuilt Japan—handsome in his trademark khaki uniform, sunglasses, and corncob pipe. Is there anything more macho than MacArthur’s somber gaze? Google the name and you’ll see what I mean.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. “Can you pray to Me speaking honestly
In your heart that you truly love Me?
When you hate your brothers and sisters
I cannot see how this has come to be”

2. Drops is the story of Vincent Preece, a self-made man, who now in retirement has everything he could want for materially but is bored and lonely, his wife and daughter having left him long ago.”



5. “The subject matter was provocatively named, “Our Future – Or is there One?” For all those who knew the speaker, the choice of the title did not come as a major surprise. A fervent and ferocious advocate of environmental conservation and leading proponent of Climate Change, Joanne Chan Ming Choo had taken it upon herself to introduce a paradigm shift in the global thinking underlying global warming. She had made it the foremost mission of her existence to push, peddle, purvey and pile on both facts and pressure with a view to jettisoning dogmas and denting stereotypes.”

6. “Hugo swung his legs to the floor and sat up. What a night!
The party lasted into the wee hours and by the time he’d stumbled home; he
passed out on the couch, never making it into his bed. His head ached, and thirst
clogged his throat.”


Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “I suppose it says something, possibly profound, about the state of the world, that there are now so many apps available which promise stories that will send the reader or listener to sleep. You can choose to listen to stories from the boring to the beautiful, from the fantastic to the hypnotic: or to find collections containing pieces only five minutes long, to ones where the average listening time is an hour.”


3. “I chose the rather provocative title for this post on purpose. On the one hand, Harry Potter draws attention and I definitely want lots of people to pay attention to this book. On the other hand, Nnedi Okorafor managed to get a sort of Harry Potter vibe in this book, all while writing something completely original and her own. I read the sequel right after this book which is really something, considering how many book series I’ve started and not finished…”

4. “A journalist must follow the clues, no matter how far that takes her.”

5. “What if the magic that could save your loved ones condemns you to death?”

6. “When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:”

7. “One of the inspirations for this book is the Corpus Christi Chronopage clock in Kings Parade, Cambridge. The rather unsettling sculptural clock has no hands or numerals but shows time through blue Led lights”

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

Seven Links 2/23/19 Traci Kenworth


Seven links…2/23/19

Traci Kenworth


1. does “better” even mean, anyway?”

2. “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. “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. “Recently, we published Christopher Fox’s 100 Prompts to Get the Ink Flowing. These prompts were some of the best I’ve seen.”

5. “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. “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. “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. “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.”


3. “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. “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. 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. “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.”


Some Things More Serious

1. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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. 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.”






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

1. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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. “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.”