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

Five Links 8/1/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Nicola Redfern from Pixabay

Had a chaotic week with my mom going into hospital, family stress, and my son getting a job. All in all, things are looking up and we’re on the road to recovery.

Five Links 8/1/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/07/the-vision-on-the-stairway.html “Forty years ago—today—I went to a birthday party for one of my best friends from high school. It was held in his second-story apartment in North Hollywood, and the place was packed.

At one point in the festivities I went downstairs to the courtyard to chat with a couple of buddies. We sat there chewing the proverbial fat, the subject of which I have long since forgotten. Then it happened. A glance that changed my life.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone bounding up the stairs toward the party. I turned. And saw a vision. If I may purloin Raymond Chandler’s line from Farewell, My LovelyIt was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.

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Research & Fun Tidbits:

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Some Things More Serious:

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Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

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Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

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Bestselling in Sports Nutrition: Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies. Herbal Supplements, Gluten-free. Collagen Peptides. Vitamin Code Raw Zinc. 60 Billion Probiotic. Smartypants Gummy Kids Vitamin. Tumeric Cuncurim. Vitamin D3.

Posted in blogs, Craft, Links, Links, Reading, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Five Links 7/26/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

Five Links 7/25/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://megdowell.com/2020/07/24/10-tips-for-eliminating-not-so-obvious-writing-distractions/

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Research & Fun Tidbits:

1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/07/25/technological-nightmares-and-extra-work/ “I’ve been working on my storyboards in drips and drabs. Right now I have six in various stages of completion, and some are nearly complete.

There are two stand alone novels, the finale of the Lanternfish trilogy, and three future stories for Lizzie and the hat. I was feeling pretty good about the process. That’s when everything started failing.

The app I’ve been using is called Pinnic. It randomly erased one of my ledger cards. I tried opening and closing, even a reboot. That’s when I discovered another board had the same thing happen to it. Then it started throwing out a random index card that could not be edited or deleted. It also covered another card I would really like to read.

What happens is these developers stop updating their apps. It’s happened before. I used to use an app I really liked, but the developers stopped updating and eventually it became unusable. This one was so long ago that I don’t even remember its name. That’s when I switched to Corkulous Pro.

Corkulous Pro also went the way of the dinosaurs and I downloaded Pinnic. They haven’t had an update for a long time, but Apple has had many. You can see where this is going.”

2. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/07/conflict-thesaurus-entry-losing-a-job/ “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.”

3. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/25/dreaming-stones-going-underground/ “The roads on the Isle of Skye are my kind of road… narrow, winding and green. I was loving driving around the island, but when presented with an even narrower road that climbs a steep hill and throws in a hairpin bend or two, the only thing to do is to take it.

The road led us up the headland above Uig, and we were already eyeing up possible parking spots. Any accommodation we had found for the night online was exorbitantly expensive… there was no way we would pay over a week’s wages for a night’s lodging, even if we could… and so far, we had seen no ‘vacancy’ signs either. Skye seemed to be closed on Mondays; for a holiday destination, this did seem rather odd.”

4. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/24/dear-wen-erratics/ “Yes, an eminently enjoyable weekend, it was good to rediscover an old friend. The sleepy energy of Beeley Warren Circle is a balm to the soul as the numerous Bees we encountered should attest. The silly thing is that there was more bracken and higher this time and we still managed to find it. I shall put that down to both faith and better research, the book actually mentions the circle being between two rafts of bracken which to mind is curious. The book is over thirty years old. One would have expected the bracken to have made inroads during that time. Either the circle is exerting some kind of effect on the surrounding vegetation which we have long suspected, or the moor is a lot older than initially supposed. Both eventualities are possible.”

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Some Things More Serious:

1. https://austinkleon.com/2020/07/23/i-forgot-how-to-write-again/ ““After I finish a book, I forget how to write,” says Patricia Lockwood. She followed up: “And then I always forget I’m going to forget how to write and plunge into the depths of despair … so beautiful.”

(LOL SAME)

Here is how my friend Maureen McHugh put it:

Every time I think I’ve figured out how to write, I discover that actually, I’ve just figured out how to write the thing I just wrote, and I have no clue how to write the next scene, the next story, or the next book.

I think all the time about this paragraph I clipped from comedy writer Tom Koch’s obituary:” It’s amazing! I never realized we all experience this!

2. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/07/23/thursdaydoors-darwins-house-kent/Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). 

You can join in here: https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2020/07/23/thursday-doors-july-23-2020/

We visited the UK during the boys August school holiday in 2018. We chose to make Kent our home base as I love the area and I can visit Canterbury Cathedral over and over again. I also really like the sweet shop in Canterbury.

One of the historical places of interest we visited during this particular visit was Charles Darwin’s house. Charles Darwin, in case you’ve forgotten, was an English naturalist,”

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Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://www.djranch.org/2020/07/24/flash-fiction-if-wed-known/

2. https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/the-man-at-the-spring/

3. https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/call-it-whatever/

4. https://pilgrimage.studio/2020/07/24/todays-shot-173/

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Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/07/25/skyclyffeby-z-mossread-by-noah-kershisnikgenre-middle-grade-science-fiction/ “Rex Bright enjoys drawing in notebooks and dreaming. He’s thirteen, and his life is ordinary. Until he sees a face in a cloud which changes everything. Rex glimpses the girl from an airplane window while travelling to his aunt and uncle’s farm for the summer. Her features are so perfect, Rex can’t believe she’s only vapor. But Cloud Girl is real. A week later, Skyclyffe, a mysterious airship cloaked in a cumulus, abducts Rex and his family. The captors expect the Brights to live in their flying city forever. And, although he’s kidnapped, Rex loves the craft filled with robots, scientific discoveries, and silvery-white beings. Before long, Rex will be forced to decide whether to escape, or if Skyclyffe and its secret wonders are worth never stepping foot on Earth again.”

2. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/07/24/haiku-summer-wind-2/

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

Five Links 7/18/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

Five Links 7/18/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://www.livewritethrive.com/2020/07/13/keep-pressing-on-no-matter-what/Today’s guest post is by Kristina Naydonova, twelve years old

Why is it that we don’t believe in ourselves? Are we too scared to know what it feels like to hit a wall of failure? Do we feel the need to bring ourselves down for validation?

Allow me to tell you that everyone is going to taste failure at least once in their lifetime. If you haven’t failed, you aren’t even trying. You won’t succeed right away because that’s not how life works.

Everybody always assures you to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong, but you should never listen to that. You should find the courage inside of you to want to fall forward, not backward.

I don’t care if there are difficulties lying ahead, and neither should you or anybody else. We all go through rough patches in our lives, and most people choose to walk away. It takes discipline and persistence in order to break through and make a difference.

I’ve had many people tell me that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You and I weren’t born to stay quiet. We were all born to leave our mark behind in this world. For our voices to be heard.” I agree wholeheartedly!

2. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/07/7-ya-plot-ideas-for-a-fabulous-novel/ “Writing an irresistible novel that readers can’t put down is the goal of most writers. Using plot-strengthening techniques gleaned from Young Adult writing can improve any novel, no matter the genre or the age of readership. A story featuring a teen protagonist has a fertile bed of emotions to cultivate with built-in rites of passage moments that all readers can relate to or anticipate.

The following seven elements can heighten the drama and tension in any story, helping you write a book your readers won’t want to stop reading.

1. Utilize a subplot about Belonging.

Be it finding peace in a dysfunctional family, bonding with a band of misfits, or navigating the expectations of first love, YA books all have a coming-of-age component that stems from a need for acceptance.” Some very good advice here!

3. https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/2020/07/14/anticipatory-anxiety-and-the-long-paragraph/ “Even if they aren’t reading aloud, our readers tend to breathe as if they were. That might not look or even feel exactlythe same as reading aloud, though I have seen people reading in public moving their lips, eyes bugged out, hand over their mouths, and otherwise really, really into it. And I love that, by the way, and always try to see what they’re reading, as unobtrusively as possible so as not to interrupt them, especially in that state. If a book can get someone to look like that, as far as I’m concerned it’s worth a look. Still, even if they aren’t breathing exactly as if reading aloud, your readers’ internal experience matches that sensation much more closely than you might think. The way you feel has a huge impact on how you breathe, and how you breathe has a huge impact on how you feel. If you don’t believe me, how about Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D. of the Anxiety Network, who wrote:

The flow of adrenaline and the resulting extra blood flow increases your strength and awareness of the danger. This extra “awareness” of the perceived danger may cause all sorts of feelings, such as dizziness, nausea, hyperventilation, heart palpitations, confusion, lack of control, unreality, being dazed, shaking, trembling, and sweaty palms, among others.

Neuroscientist Alex Korb, from his book The Upward Spiral:” Interesting.

4. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/07/13/the-character-arc-part-1-amwriting/ “We who write fiction spend a lot of time plotting the events a character will go through. We may write to an outline, or we might keep it in our head, but most of the action is usually known before we write it.

Even if you don’t plot in the traditional sense of the word, you should give some advance consideration to character development.

The term character arc is used to describe the personal growth and transformation of a character throughout a story. In narratives with a strong character arc, the protagonist begins as one sort of person. Through the events they experience, they are transformed. Often the change is for the better, but sometimes they change for the worse.

Great writing contrasts the relative security of the characters’ lives as they were in the opening paragraphs against the hazards of their life when they are in the midst of change.

Give me the book that immerses me in the uncertainty, fear, and anger—let me experience the emotional journey as well as the events of the narrative.”

5. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/07/fiction-is-for-kids.html “My wife is a can-do person. Although Covid-19 is again spreading unchecked across the nation, and America is suffering from its worst economic debacle since the Great Depression, the crisis hasn’t dented her spirit. In just the past two months she’s launched a new nonprofit that’s educating and entertaining New York City kids who have been isolated by the resurgent pandemic.

The organization is called Summer in the City, and two weeks ago it began to offer dozens of free online classes in art, music, theater, dance, and writing to public-school students in NYC. And because I always try to be helpful to my wife (well, not always, but pretty often), I agreed to teach one of the classes aimed at teenagers: Writing Science Fiction. My description of the class in the online course catalog (which you can peruse here) includes the tagline, “You probably feel like you’re already living in a science-fiction dystopia right now, so why not write about it?”

I’ve talked about fiction writing with students many times over the past decade, in Skype chats with school book clubs and in person at school auditoriums, but until now I’ve never taught a class with scheduled meetings (every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 pm) and weekly assignments. The experience has made me wonder which particular pieces of writing instruction are most helpful to beginning writers. It’s also given me some insight into the difficulties that many teachers are confronting while trying to teach on Zoom and the other online platforms.”

Research & Fun Tidbits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/13/callanish-calling-thin-white-stones/‘This site, important for its grandeur, its design

and its astronomy, is a complex,

of a diminutive stone circle, an avenue,

three rows and a chambered tomb…’

– Burl

2. https://somethingferal.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/ars-geometrica-viii/

 3. https://megdowell.com/2020/07/17/10-subtle-things-preventing-you-from-reaching-your-monthly-writing-goals/

4. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.com/2020/07/18/another-draft-finished/ “Yay! I am very excited to say that I have finished draft # 3 of the third book in my Investigative Paranormal Society series–All The Devils Are Here.  I have become far more focused in my approach to revision of my novels, and it is helping me a great deal as I move through the revision process. For my first novel,  Maledicus:  The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 1, I did 13 drafts. I was making it up as I went, in terms of how to revise, and I had an extremely difficult time.

Now, I have a plan for each draft, and it helps me focus and do the work in an efficient way. For this novel, I expect two more drafts, and I intend to have this book out in time for Halloween!

Now, it is time attack the third draft of my political thriller. I will speak more of that in another post!”

5. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/being-a-word-weaver-part-1/ “Why do I write? I have always been a storyteller. When I was a child I was always making up adventures in my head. For years my imaginary friend was a squirrel called Patch, and we had all sorts of adventures on Farmer Brown’s farm. I was, and still am, a dreamer, a creator of worlds and people.

I get bored easily, I’m smart, and I am cynical so I suppose storytelling is an escape, a way of doing things I could never really do.  My late grandmother would tell us stories about ‘The Duchess’ and my late father had some really quite dark tales about various household implements that would go on the rampage, have adventures and cause mischief — thanks Dad – I get my twisted sense of humour from you too.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/great-quotes-about-imagination-and-writing/

2. https://www.bryndonovan.com/2020/07/13/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/ “Hi friends! Once or twice a week, someone asks me how to find a literary agent. This usually comes up because at my day job in publishing, we’re only taking agented submissions, though I also get this question from writers of all kinds of genres. So I figured it was time I did a post about finding a literary agent.

You might be wondering, “Do I need a literary agent to get published?” The answer is no. Some publishers accept unagented submissions—either all of the time, or during designated open submission periods. But many publishers only take submissions through agents, including most of the bigger publishers.”

3. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/07/18/angel-messages-july-18-2020/

4. https://teagansbooks.com/2020/07/18/the-delta-pearl-41-swim/Random Reader Things.  I’ve brought back the papyrus, from episode 39.  Olga Núñez Miret gave us that.  Great minds think alike and GP Cox, and Deborah Zajac both left a Gramophone.  This episode brings back the Agate, the Cook.  Since she’s Scottish, it was the perfect time to add the Clootie Dumpling from Barb Taub.

This episode ties up the triple cliffhanger from last time.  While it is not as long as I used to make serial chapters, it is longer than I’ve been writing them this year.  So, don’t complain youve been warned.

Where did Randall Needleman and Émeraude land?  What happened to Eliza when she turned that dagger on herself?  What about the two young women lovers running away from persecution? “Alex” may have exposed herself as Alison.  Let’s not forget the newest gemstone name character, Jet Fischer, the librarian who has always been infatuated with the Delta Pearl.  Will he be left standing on the dock when the riverboat leaves?  Plus we weren’t even certain that Sid, the Cadet got safely back into the launch from his precarious place on the roof.  Read on to learn the answers to these questions.”

5. https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-17-july-2020/ “Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. Edited by Keith Anthony Baird, and featuring stories by genre titans Adam L G Nevill and Tim Lebbon alongside new talents such as Stephanie Ellis, Morgan K. Tanner and S. J. Budd, Diabolica Britannica also features a foreword by Ramsey Campbell. With all profits going to the UK’s National Health Service, you can pick up your copy right now, here.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/07/14/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-186-synonymsonly/ “Here are your two words:

“BLESSED & HEX”

2. https://rivrvlogr.com/2020/07/17/poem-up-at-the-ekphrastic-review-8/

3. https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/sofia-how-it-all-began/

4. https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/sevenling-questions/

5. https://wordeologist.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/child-in-need/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/07/13/the-dead-girl-under-the-bleachers-a-craven-falls-mystery-book-1-by-donna-m-zadunajsky-genre-ya-mystery/ “Three girls…

Three dead bodies…

The quiet town of Craven Falls is depleting in population. One by one…

Scarlet Fitzgerald thought it would be fun to play a game on Laura Stevenson, a nobody at Craven Falls High. But what happens when the game unleashes buried secrets Scarlet doesn’t want anyone to know? Secrets that could get someone killed, including herself.

Three can play a game, but one of them ends up dead…”

2. https://hrrgorman.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/book-review-through-the-nethergate/ “This novel was billed as a paranormal horror about a young girl – Margaret – who is flung into a horrifying experience with ghosts, monsters, and historical people. By the existence of Heaven and Hell as mentioned in the blurb, I expect there’s some Christian mythology involved, but that doesn’t bother me! Tally ho!

NON-SPOILER REVIEW

Fantastically researched. Spooky as hell. I’ve never had to put a book down because I was too freaked out, but now I have. If you want to know more about some really horrible people and horrible circumstances, this book is full of them.

Something strange about this book that I rather enjoyed but which might not appeal to everyone was the piles of stories about the ghosts and “incarnates”. Many ghosts or groups of ghosts had a story behind them, and Cheadle put together a well-researched summary of their lives and why their souls were trapped on Earth or in Hell. In effect, this book often felt like a compilation of historical stories, but that was right up my alley. There was also not as much dialogue as you might expect in a novel, but a lot of it was tied into this historicity.”

3. https://rachelpoli.com/2020/07/18/thomas-wildus-and-the-wizard-of-sumeria-by-j-m-bergen-book-review/ “Book two takes place three months after the events of book one. Thomas and his friends seem to believe the battle is over though more dangers await them.

The plot was well done since it picks up where the previous book left off. The story was already established with new ideas put into place. This was another fun adventure.”

4. https://mjmallon.com/2020/07/17/17th-july-promo-hot-off-the-press-new-releases-wisp-ii-sea-dragons-and-this-is-lockdown-fantasy-dragons-and-covid19-anthology-compilation/ “The malevolent and ruthless mage, Dante Asano is defeated but victory came at a horrific price. Before Wisp and his companions could intervene, Dante possessed Pendra Thorn’s body. In order to stop Dante without killing Pendra, a magic sleep spell was cast. A glass coffin warded with powerful spells encased her body while her mind fled to a favourite memory; unfortunately, Dante is also trapped with her. The magical coffin will only keep her alive, and Dante contained for a short time. A desperate plan to undertake a treacherous journey across an unknown sea means Wisp and his companions must disband. Some journey with Wisp to find an ancient spell to release Pendra and banish Dante’s spirit. Those left behind must guard Pendra in a city under threat. An ancient evil casts a shadow over Edra causing burgeoning unrest and setting the inhabitants against one”

5. https://dsm-publications.com/2020/07/17/a-new-audio-book-release-kongo-com/ “In my book,kongo.com, I have pulled together four separate related stories. Three of them were published as serials on my blog over the past year. The fourth is a brand new story that weaves together the other three. This was an enjoyable exercise and I hope that those that choose to read it will enjoy it as well.” No Pain, No Gain was an excellent story!

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Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry

Poem and a Story Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry Challenge 7/15/2020 Blessed & Hexed chosen by Anita Dawes Traci Kenworth


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

We were given the words “blessed” and “hexed.” I chose to use the synonyms, holy and damned in three tankas of 5/7/5, 3/5/3, and 2/3/2. I also added a story. Hope you enjoy!

deep in prayer the
monk folded his hands upon
the trio of stones

lost in flight
the angel waited
damned to hear

blamed for
her part in
his lies

The Angel and the Monk

Traci Kenworth

They met by a pool in the gardens. The monk often went there to pray. He didn’t know she was listening or so she thought. In truth, he lured her there each night with his praise of her lord.

She thought it sad that such a poetic man called on the devil to strengthen his claim to the temple.

He entrusted his soul to her keeping, sure that she would pass it on to her Master. But she could not. For the angel had fallen. As all the damned do. They are like butterflies hovering close to the flower. Always seeking, searching for the best beneath, they do not see the trap until it is too late.

Such is the fate of the cursed.

Now, she is bound to the chambers of sin where the monk goes each night to pray. Not for forgiveness or to save his people. His are for the dark to rise him as a might throughout the land. He will be feared and above all. Never to fall. Or so he thought.

And as such, they play out their hex. One drawn to the other who wishes to break the chains and find hope again.

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

Five Links 7/11/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Five Links 7/11/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://acflory.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/editing-as-a-pantster/ “A pantster is a writer who ‘writes by the seat of their pants’ – i.e. doesn’t outline in advance. I’m a pantster, mostly, and I learned a long time ago that pantsters have to trust their subconscious. If that little voice says ‘no’ then we have to listen, even if that means deleting thousands of perfectly good words.

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

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/07/09/12-secrets-of-the-most-fearful-and-successful-writers/

3. https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/7-tips-to-writing-a-physical-description-that-works/ “Don’t go jumping to the comments just yet.  Jessica makes a good point.  Our characters are what we make them, so we shouldn’t blame them for it.  We do have to be careful on how we go about doing a physical description.  Know what you’re aiming for and make sure it’s what you want.  Of course, none of these tips will matter if you want to keep it as vague as possible.  Now, let’s get to it.”

4. https://phsolomon.com/2020/07/10/the-roots-of-my-fantasy-writing/ “I’ve been thinking about the various settings in my upcoming book and realized there are a number of places I’ve visited in the past that serve as the basis for these fictional locations. They seem common for fantasy but they are more specific for me and aren’t based on previous fantasy worlds, familiar though they may seem.

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

5. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/07/improve-your-fiction-by-studying-the-brothers-grimm/ “We all know how important it is to read within our genre. Doing so shows us what elements make those books successful (and also what overdone tropes to avoid). But reading outside of our genre can be just as helpful. It’s always a good idea to examine what works and why, so we can apply those successful components to our own stories. Fairy tales have been around forever, and Grimm’s stories have particular longevity. What universal guidelines can we borrow from them to bolster our own writing? Shonna Slayton is going to show us what she’s learned from these age-old tales.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/08/a-thousand-miles-of-history-xxxxv-the-knights-come-down-to-drink/ “We had already been sidetracked by St Edwold’s tiny church, but we were definitely on our way home now. Except, we thought that as we were passing, it would be a pity not to visit the little village of Sutton Montis, the place where the ghostly knights that sleep beneath Cadbury Castle are said to bring their horses to drink. We had tried to visit on the first day of the workshop and taken a wrong turn somewhere. Perhaps we would have better luck this time.”

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/07/dear-wen-edible/ “Dear Wen…

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

3. https://judithbarrowblog.com/2020/07/09/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-meet-the-authors-memoir-chuck-jackson-memoir-brigid-gallagher-shortstories-anne-goodwin/ “There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

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

4.  https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/getting-married-in-the-middle-ages/Whether you’re writing Medieval history fiction or fantasy, you will appreciate this Quora answer by Helena Schrader, who borrowed from an article she wrote for The Medieval Magazine. To this, I have added information by Brent Cooper, taken from medievaltimes.com.

Getting Married in the Middle Ages

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

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

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

5. https://johnwhowell.com/2020/07/09/thursday-a-little-personal-twiggy-and-lucy-outside-4/

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/angel-messages-july-10-200/

2. https://awriterofhistory.com/2020/07/09/toni-morrisons-the-bluest-eye/ “When Toni Morrison passed away last year, I asked professor of English literature and author Piper Huguley for advice on which of Morrison’s novels to read. Piper not only offered a recommendation, she advised me on the order I should read these celebrated novels.”

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

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

4. https://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2020/07/little-fires-everywhere-are-rules.html “Let me preface this blog post by saying that my main diet of reading genres consists of page-turning thrillers, dark suspense, police procedurals, and clever mysteries. I rarely read literary novels and am choosy about which ones I pick—books I’ve loved like The Kite Runner and Love in the Time of Cholera, and books I didn’t love that others did, like The Help. I have dozens of books on my home bookshelves and in my Kindle, but the stay at home order has limited my library visits. I decided to expand my reading into books that have reached bestseller status that I can download from my library’s Overdrive/Libby app. That’s how I chose Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. Most of the reviews were stellar. The book starts with the semi-ending, a device I dislike. Many people hate prologues. I don’t mind them. This wasn’t a prologue; it was part of the ending, and it took away some of the edge. The book is a story of privilege, of mothers’ love, and of class.”

5. http://booksbywomen.org/having-it-all-its-not-as-easy-as-it-sounds/ “I grew up believing it was possible to have it all – a career, a family, and anything else I wanted. My parents encouraged me to get a good education and become an independent woman. I went to a progressive all-girls’ school, where we were expected to work hard, get good grades and embrace every opportunity that came our way. 

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

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

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

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

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://www.djranch.org/2020/07/09/100-poetic-forms-warrior/

2. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/07/09/black-amethyst-sky-2/

3. https://pilgrimage.studio/2020/07/09/todays-shot-162/

4. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/vista-writephoto/

5. https://kittysverses.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/visuals-2/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://middlegrademojo.com/2020/07/08/the-mojo-minute-with-margaret-peterson-haddix/ “Until their mother vanished, the Greystone kids—Chess, Emma, and Finn—knew nothing about the other world.

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

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

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

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

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

2. https://judithbarrowblog.com/2020/07/09/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-meet-the-authors-yafantasy-kevin-cooper-mystery-mary-anne-edwards-historical-apple-gidley/ “There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

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

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

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

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

4. https://teripolen.com/2020/07/09/red-white-and-royal-blue-by-casey-mcquiston-bookreview-lgbt-romance/First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

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

5. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2020/07/10/meet-guest-author-chiara-talluto/ “Hello, my name is Chiara Talluto. I’m a wife, busy mom, author, and a woman after God’s heart. As I ponder this declaration, I find it more appropriate to claim that I am a woman after God’s heart first. He has given me a gift of writing, and I honor Him through my written works. So, pull up a chair and stay awhile.

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

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Posted in blogs, MG & YA, Reading, Short stories, YA

Book Talk 7/10/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Nothing this week.

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

Five Links 7/5/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Five Links 7/4/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://www.livewritethrive.com/2020/06/29/10-must-read-modern-novels-to-inspire-writers/ “Throughout my career, when I’ve spoken at conferences, conventions, and other book events, I’ve been asked for my single biggest piece of advice for new authors wanting to hone their craft. I can’t take credit for this advice. It’s as old as the written word, I think. And Stephen King famously cites this advice in The Bible for fiction writers: On Writing.

But there’s no avoiding the plain, simple truth that the absolute best way to learn the craft of writing and how to properly write fiction is to read, read, read.

Read as much as you can, especially in your chosen genre. See how the “experts” do it. See how those who have figured out the secret to becoming a successful author write their books.

I take this advice a step further when working with my coaching and editing clients. Often, their “homework” assignment is to choose a book by an author they look up to and want to emulate (not copy) and read it.” I started by reading everything I could by my favorite authors and trying to figure out how they brought the story across. I still do this.

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/06/28/your-writing-will-never-make-every-reader-happy/ “Not all writers are people-pleasers. Yet we all have to do everything we can to satisfy our audiences (real or imagined) all the same.

Many writers, however, also live with the general desire to make everyone they interact with happy. It’s impossible, of course. We know this. That doesn’t stop the urgency. The never-ending quest for perfection. The irrational hope that everyone will always like everything we do.

Or publish.

You’ve likely heard before that trying to please everyone as a writer is a direct line to years of misery, disappointment, and — probably — failure.

All that’s 100% true, don’t get me wrong.

But has anyone ever actually told you how the HECK you’re supposed to keep writing when you know for a fact some people aren’t going to like it?” I think we keep writing for ourselves as we began writing for ourselves and hope our readers will follow.

3. https://stevelaube.com/curious-about-agents-and-publishers-and-stuff/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=curious-about-agents-and-publishers-and-stuff “A writer friend recently messaged me with a few questions about agents and publishers and stuff. The “and stuff” is my locution, not hers. So I thought for the benefit or outrage of all, I’d answer her in this space. See how generous I am? No? Okay, be that way. Here goes:

I am curious about using literary agents vs. working with a publisher without agent representation. . . . I’ve noticed that some writers do have representation, yet their book hasn’t sold to a publisher yet. In some situations, the author has been represented for a year or more and the agent is still shopping their manuscript. I’m wondering, how does the agent help to promote the author’s work to ignite publisher interest?

This question (and those that follow) are sort of what we bigwigs call “asking a barber if you need a haircut.” As an agent, of course, I think agents are pretty great. So, keep that in mind, as I answer. First, a year in this business is not a long time. I’ve had clients who’ve gotten an offer 10, 11, or 12 months after submission. I’ve also had clients who, a year after submission, have a new project ready for submission.”

4. https://megdowell.com/2020/07/03/we-are-all-creating/ “It can feel extremely discouraging when you aren’t writing as much as you want to be. You might be in a pretty dark place, wondering if writing is even the thing you’re supposed to be doing. If you’re even good at it, or if you ever will be. Having stopped, you might seriously consider never going back. Would it really be the end of the world if you chose a different path?

A creatively inclined human being faces many challenges throughout their life. Not writing when you wish you wanted to want to write is one of many of those. But it’s a tough one. Believe it or not, you’re not always in control of it. Sometimes there are factors standing in your way that you can do little to nothing about, and the result is that you want to write. But you aren’t. You … can’t.

Does this mean you’re a failure? A disappointment? A lost cause?” No. You just need time.

5. https://megdowell.com/2020/07/02/why-you-havent-been-feeling-inspired-to-write-lately-and-why-thats-ok/ “I couldn’t write.

Well, I COULD. I had to — I didn’t have a choice.

But coming up with ideas? Enjoying the process? Nope. I wanted nothing to do with it.

It had been weeks. And I just couldn’t get it together.

I just kept asking myself over and over: “What is wrong with you?”

And then it hit me.

NO ONE is particularly OK right now.

The world is on fire.”

Research & Fun Tidbits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/04/a-thousand-miles-of-history-xxxxi-an-unexpected-encounter/ “We took to the backroads again, nodding to Drake’s statue as we passed through Tavistock once more, climbing up towards Dartmoor. On our way south, the mists had closed around us completely and we had seen little more of the wild beauty of the moors than the first few yards and the tarmac in front of the car. This time, the skies were clear, and the few miles over the moor looked like taking a while, as I could not resist stopping at almost every possible place.”

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/07/03/a-forest/

3. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/stand-up-comedy-jay-larson-wrong-number/

4. https://jenanita01.com/2020/07/03/the-system-i-use-to-write-over-100-blog-posts-every-month/ “Most bloggers struggle with getting their writing done for one surprising reason: they approach writing as the act of creating something out of nothing. It’s the main reason you want to bash your head against the keyboard.

In fact, writing the damn thing should be the easiest part of content creation.

Once I realized that you can’t create something out of nothing, I could wake up at 5 AM, have a sip of coffee, and sit down to punch those damn keys until my hands hurt.

No more time wasted staring stupidly into the abyss of a blank document, no more cursing that blinking cursor thing.”

5. https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-3-july-2020/

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.com/2020/07/03/underground-library-society/ “What would you do if a beloved book, rich in meaning and literature, were to be banned, gone forever? Would you vow to memorize the book in order to save it? I would. When Charles French, a professor of English Literature, formed a society at Lehigh University in his English 2 class for the purpose of appreciating all books – especially those that have been banned over the years – I knew this was more than a brilliant idea. Much like the storyline in Fahrenheit 451, the members of the U.L.S. (Underground Library Society) pick a book to save, if books were banned.”

2. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/angel-messages-july-4-2020/

3. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/smorgasbord-guest-writer-the-importance-of-a-book-cover-by-roberta-eaton-cheadle/ “Thank you to the amazing Sally Cronin from Smorgasbord blog for hosting me with a post about the importance of a good book cover. Sally has wonderful books with smashing covers which you can find here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019-2020/

4. https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/the-dos-and-donts-of-pitching-like-a-pro-from-the-writers-in-the-storm-blog/ “So you want to write for magazines and websites…great! Writing articles can be an excellent way for authors to promote their work, build a platform, hone their skills, and get paid. How do you start? With a pitch, of course. But how do you make sure your pitches will land the way you want them to? Allow me to share with you some of the wisdom I have gleaned from over twenty years working in media and publishing, most recently as Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digest magazine.

After so much time on both sides of the editor’s desk—as a full-time freelancer, and as an acquiring editor – I’m confident I’ve seen the best pitches, and the worst ones. I’ve sent out both kinds of pitches in my own career too!”

5. https://maeclair.net/2020/07/02/just-a-note/ “Please pardon my absence over the last two weeks. I have missed visiting your blogs and sharing on my own. I will be back online next week and look forward to catching up. A special thanks to my Story Empire colleagues for covering comments on my post last week while I was engaged elsewhere.

For those in the U.S., I wish you a happy Fourth of July weekend ahead. May it be filled with family, friends, and good times! And to all my friends, regardless where you are located, happy writing and reading. May the muse be kind, and your summer (or winter) filled with excellent books. Chat soonest!”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://www.djranch.org/2020/06/28/gogyohka-brutiful/

2. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/07/02/minnewaska-march-an-encore-haibun-frank-j-tassone/

3. https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/when-4/

4. https://joem18b.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/haiku-505/

5. https://www.djranch.org/2020/07/03/haibun-pandemic-day-110/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/welcome-to-day-10-of-the-sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies-blog-tour-bakeandwrite-4willspub-rrbc/ “The fondant cat parade tells the story in limericks of Dinah the Kitten, daughter of Daddy Grey and Mommy Cat, who likes to sleep and escape to Wonderland in her dreams. While in Wonderland, Dinah meets a variety of brightly coloured and fun fantasy kittens. The fondant cat parade illustrates some of the wonderful fondant art that appears in all the Sir Chocolate books.” Robbie has helped and supported me through many of my blogging posts. She always does incredible fondant creations. Her writing is incredible as well. If you’re looking for some gems for your children, try her books.

2. https://mjmallon.com/2020/06/29/the-curse-of-time-ya-fantasy-free-promo-offer-coming-soon-3-days-from-30th-june/ “I’m pleased to announce that my YA Fantasy The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone will be on free promotion for three days from 30th June!!!

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger. With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.”

3. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/06/29/knucklehead-fred-by-arias-williams-genre-childrens-picture-book/ “Knucklehead Fred is a whimsical, rhyming story about a fun-loving, energetic boy named Fred.

His parents just can’t figure out how to make him sit still and listen!

But when Fred finds himself in need of a favor, Mom and Dad use it as a perfect opportunity to teach him a thing or two about responsibility.”

4. https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/celebrating-6-years-of-rosies-bookreview-team-rbrt-with-team-member-cathyry/ “I invited some of my team members to tell us more about being part of the book reviewing team.”

5. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2020/07/04/meet-guest-author-anna-annina-lorenzi/“Before being born I was on a spaceship waiting to go down”.

Wait! I’m not crazy, I swear!

Let me introduce myself…

My name is Anna, but almost since I was a little kid everyone has always called me “Annina,” and not because I’m so short, but because in Italian it’s also an affectionate diminutive to indicate that you’re the youngest in the family or group of friends. I was born and grew up in Milan, Italy, where I still live with my two marvelous beagles, and I have been writing since forever.”

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

Five Links 6/27/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Willgard Krause from Pixabay

Five Links 6/27/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/06/why-im-writing-40s-style-pulp.html “In the comments to last Tuesday’s post, Kris asked me about the series of pulp-style stories I’m doing for my Patreon community. It doesn’t take much prompting to get a writer to talk about his work, now does it? So here I go.

My parents were friends with one of the most prolific pulp writers of his day, W. T. Ballard (who also had several pseudonyms). I was too young to realize how cool that was. I wish I’d been aware enough to ask him some intelligent questions about writing! (I’ve blogged about Ballard before.) Fortunately, I was the recipient of many of his paperback books and a collection of his stories for Black Mask about a Hollywood troubleshooter named Bill Lennox. Lennox was like a PI, but did his work for a studio. I thought that was a nice departure from pure detective.

So I decided to create a troubleshooter of my own. The first thing I did was write up a backstory for him:

WILLIAM “WILD BILL” ARMBREWSTER was born in 1899 in Cleveland,

2. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/06/sneek-a-peek-at-the-occupation-thesaurus-firefighter/ “July 20th is just around the corner and so we thought we’d tee up one of the entries inside the newest volume in the Writers Helping Writers Descriptive Thesaurus series.” Their thesaurus book are always a help to me! Pick one up today!

3. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/06/22/emotion-its-complicated-amwriting16004/ “When we discuss our work with other writers, the word mood is sometimes used interchangeably with atmosphere. I see those two aspects of story as conjoined twins, marching along together. They are separate but intertwined so closely that they seem as one.

Mood happens in the background over the length of the story. Mood allows the emotions the writer instills into the story to be more specific, more intensely colored.

Atmosphere is also long-term but is part of worldbuilding. Atmosphere is conveyed by setting, which affects the overall mood of a piece.

Together, atmosphere and mood have the power to intensify the reader’s impression of the emotions experienced by the characters.

Emotion is immediate, short term. It exists in the foreground but works best when in conjunction with the overall atmosphere/mood.”

4. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/06/ya-or-not-ya/ “Young Adult novels have come a long way from the classics we read in school.  Novels like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye were first accepted into the newly coined category, Young Adult (YA) in the 1960’s. While YA literature focuses on adolescence and coming of age stories, it can span any genre and follows the rules within those types of writing.

YA also appeals to multi-generations of readers, evolving from the single-problem stories of an after school special to the mega-blockbusters we see today. One thing is for sure: readers of all ages are gobbling up these stories.

Writers today have questions about how this multifaceted category works, and whether their novel is actually YA. Below are tips to help you answer these questions. (Plenty of examples and ways to enhance your current story are included.)”

5. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/06/conflict-thesaurus-entry-being-mistaken-for-someone-else/ “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.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/06/20/dear-wen-scions/ “Oh, there you are… ah, the old ‘Tree-Beard’ with ‘Hobbit’ on shoulder shot from the wall painting at Pickering church if memory serves.

We have still to visit a goodly number of Hammer Stones in that vicinity if you remember? And as it is not too much of a hike…May we pencil that in for July sometime, perhaps?

We could utilise the New Inn as a base…our usual rooms.”

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/06/27/a-thousand-miles-of-history-xxxiv-a-lake-of-legends/ “Next morning we were once again up and away early, though this time our first stop was only a mile or two down the road and still on Bodmin Moor, a place where there must be as many legends as there are people who visit the place. We had come to pay our respects to a lake and to those who, so the stories tell us, reside within its depths.

Dozmary Pool is a small and isolated lake left behind by a glacier. Around it the remains of flint-working have been found, suggesting it was a gathering place for early Man and there are many prehistoric remains in the area. The waters of Dozmary feed nearby Colliford Lake and it is one of the sources of the River Fowey. There are no trees and no shelter, and although the ordinary world measures its depth at around ten feet, it is said to be bottomless. Perhaps it is, for the waters of Dozmary mirror only the vastness of the sky and the light that shimmers and sparkles in its wind-born ripples. You can imagine that at night, here where there are few traces of modern man, the still surface would reflect the stars and would indeed appear to hold infinity within its heart.”

3. https://marciamearawrites.com/2020/06/26/how-to-publish-with-kdp-part-eleven/ “Harmony Kent is back on Story Empire today with #11 in How to Publish with KDP: How to Preview Your Book. This step is very important, and one that writers need to pay close attention to. Check out Harmony’s full instructions and illustrations to see just how to handle it. Don’t forget to pass the post along so others can check it out, as well, thanks. And thanks to Harmony for such a helpful post! 🙂

4. https://www.bryndonovan.com/2020/06/26/how-to-promote-a-book-on-instagram/ “Hi friends! I have a secret project coming out soon that I believe is very Instagram-friendly, so I thought I’d do a post about how to promote a book on Instagram. This is kind of a followup to another post: 200 Best Instagram Hashtags for Authors.

But even though I feel like I know a lot about other social media for writers, and I love connecting with people on Instagram (I’m here!), I could still learn a lot more about Instagram for authors.”

5. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2020/06/26/7-tips-to-writing-underdog-heroes/ “Everyone loves an underdog.  At least that’s what people say.  These aren’t as easy to write as one would think.  You have a lot to consider and a delicate balance to maintain for the adventure.  What are some ways to make sure that happens?

  1. Know the definition of an underdog.  That means the hero is considered to have little or no chance of success.  It doesn’t mean that they are the strongest character in the story, but have a long walk ahead of them.  They need to be at a level below whatever they are facing to be a real underdog.
  2. The title doesn’t remain indefinitely.  Yes, I’m using two tips to drive this point home because people don’t get it.  An underdog can become powerful enough to be a real contender.  As soon as he or she wins, he is no longer an underdog as well.  The best example I can think of is Rocky Balboa.  He was the underdog in the first two movies since nobody thought he had a chance and he was lacking.  The rest of the series, he’s the champion or a powerful contender.  Don’t mistake a character being slightly weaker for having not chance either.  Yeah, he lost to Clubber Lang, but I still don’t believe he regained the underdog title.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.com/2020/06/27/on-the-pleasure-of-reading/

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/06/26/11-signs-your-writing-slump-is-finally-ending/

3. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/angel-messages-june-27-2020/

4. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/instrumental-joe-satriani-andalusia/

5. https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/book-sales-covid-19-increase/ “Since March 2020, PublishDrive has been generating digital book sales reports, compiling hard-to-find data from various outlets, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books, libraries, regional stores, and more. They have now published their stats for April and May, months that saw much of the world’s population in lockdown.

The graph below presents the increase in sales in April (red bar) and May 2020 (blue bar) compared to the same months last year. One notable conclusion is that sales have increased for every single outlet, in some cases as much as almost 300%.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2020/06/22/on-a-summers-eve/

2. https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2020/06/23/magnifiers/

3. https://pilgrimage.studio/2020/06/22/todays-shot-152/

4. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/22/the-weekly-smile-for-6-22-2020-weeklysmile/

5. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/06/22/through-my-open-window-2/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://middlegrademojo.com/2020/06/23/mo-books-the-oddmire-book-2-the-unready-queen-by-willam-ritter/ “Today is the official release of William Ritter’s second book in the Oddmire Series, THE UNREADY QUEEN. Readers and reviewers alike enjoyed book one in the Oddmire series, THE CHANGLING. Publishers Weekly said that “Ritter crafts a well-paced adventure filled with whimsy and peril, in which the bonds of family and love prove stronger than any spell or curse. With memorable characters—especially the irrepressible protagonists, who make a delightful team—and an atmospheric setting, this is a strong series opener.”  You should pick up THE CHANGLING and the THE UNREADY QUEEN today!”

2. http://www.literaryrambles.com/2020/06/niki-lenz-interview-and-stepmom-skake.html “Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have Niki Lenz here to share about her new MG humorous contemporary THE STEPMOM SKAKE-UP. It sounds like a great story that is funny but also deals with contemporary issues that middle graders go through. Niki is also the author of another MG funny book, BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN, which got fantastic reviews.

Here’s a blurb of THE STEPMOM SHAKE-UP from Goodreads


After Grace’s mom died, she and her dad grew extra close. They have special nicknames and are always busy with new projects-like building a puppy condo for their dog, Potus- and they love learning random facts about the US presidents. Grace thinks her little family of two is perfect.”

3. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/welcome-to-day-10-of-the-sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies-blog-tour-bakeandwrite-4willspub-rrbc/ “Author and blogger, Mark Bierman, hosted Day 10 of my Sir Chocolate Books tour. Thank you, Mark. Do have a look around while you are there, Mark has an excellent book too called Vanished. You can read my review here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RXWSOR0RKZSNL

Thank you to 4Wills Publishing for organising this tour and for creating the lovely promotional YouTube video.

Today I am excited to host talented author/cake decorator Robbie Cheadle. Together with her son, Michael, she has written a series of children’s books.”

4. https://judithbarrowblog.com/2020/06/26/special-guest-sally-cronin-travels-as-a-child/ “I am delighted to have the amazing Sally Cronin as my guest today as she tells us about her adventurous life as a child traveller.”

5. https://teagansbooks.com/2020/06/27/the-delta-pearl-39-rise/ “Welcome back to the riverbank, my chuckaboos.  This segment continues the adventures of the passengers and crew during their shore leave in my fictional, Victorian Era version of Cairo, Illinois. 

Delightful blogger and fascinating person, Pat at e-Quips recently did a post about bells.  I stumbled upon it after I wrote this chapter, but Bells was a perfect random reader thing for today.  I only had to make a minor adjustment to use it.

Also, I was finally able to use a “thing” that was sent months ago from one of my original followers, author and translator, Olga Núñez Miret.  She comes up with such fabulous things, like Papyrus!”

Bestselling Audible Sellers: Becoming. Where the Crawdads Sing. Can’t Hurt Me. White Fragility. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Talking to Strangers. Atomic Strangers. Game of Thrones. How to Win Friends & Influence People. Trevor Noah.

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

Five Links 5/30/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by PhotoVision from Pixabay

 Five Links 5/30/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://stevelaube.com/beating-writers-block/ “Some writers scoff at the idea of “writer’s block”—that moment when the writer’s brain seems to freeze and the flow of words seems to have turned off like a faucet. Others swear that it’s a real thing, the bane of the writing life.

I tend to think it has more to do with personality than other, more objective, factors. Some are prone to it. Some aren’t.

Since I’m in the latter category, I asked some of my clients who have struggled with writer’s block in one form or another to share how they cope with it. Here’s what they said:

It’s helped me to see my creativity as a finite quantity. Usually I’m so full of ideas…but if I’ve been pouring into, say, freelance clients and my own work is constantly kicked to my B-priority list, writer’s block charges at me a lot faster. For me, writer’s block tends to snuggle up with burnout. Am I feeding my creativity with life-giving activity? Usually the answer is “fat chance” (Janel Breitenstein, author of the upcoming Zondervan release, Permanent Markers: Spiritual Life Skills for Work-in-Progress Families)”

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/05/28/10-reasons-writing-suddenly-feels-a-lot-harder-than-usual/

3. https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2020/05/29/building-blocks-sequels/Sequels are the “reactive” units of a story. They include reactions, dilemmas, and decisions. Sequels must contain all three items before advancing to the following scene. Why? Without each, there isn’t a proper resolution and the sequel doesn’t work. Also, this is the time to give your reader a breather. The scene is all about motion, energy, drive. It’s fast-paced. But readers can’t sustain a prolonged adrenaline rush. The slower downtime of a sequel is critical for pacing. That’s what they’re for.

Let’s look more closely at the three parts of a sequel.

Reactions:

A reaction is how your POV character emotionally responds to the disaster. Remember, disasters are devastating. There’s going to be sorrow, fear, frustration, anger. Your guy is in pain, and the reader needs to feel it with him. Flex your literary muscles a bit. We want this section to be palpable and powerful. This is where the reader bonds with the character, relates to his predicament. Becomes invested in the outcome.”

4. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2020/05/29/where-to-send-review-copies-of-your-book-to-get-more-book-reviews-clients-media-attention-and-other-opportunities-by-stephanie-chandler/ “Whether your book is coming out soon or it has been out for a while, sending out review copies of your book can lead to a variety of opportunities:

  • Acquire reviews on Amazon and beyond.
  • Attract media coverage, podcast interviews, etc.
  • Build word of mouth.
  • Gain exposure with influencers through blogs, social media, etc.
  • Entice a new prospective client to work with you.
  • Get your book considered for bulk purchases.
  • Be invited or hired as a speaker.

It’s important to be really clear about your target audience, who should receive a copy of your book, and why you’re sending it to each person. I can’t emphasize this enough.”

5. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/05/character-building-how-much-planning-should-i-do-part-2/ “As I mentioned in my last post, knowing exactly how much to brainstorm when it comes to character building can be a question mark. How deeply you need to plan depends on the character’s role and importance, and the writer’s own comfort zone. Obviously a main character is going to need more development than a secondary character or a walk on.

This is why we build a role guide into our Character Builder. It contains suggestions on what to plan based on a character’s importance in the story and relationship to the protagonist. That way, no matter what the person’s role is (a mentor, sidekick, love interest, or someone else), you’ll know what details will come into play in the story.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/05/29/finding-the-path/ ““We should write a book…”

Over the wineglasses, it seemed like a good idea. Not that anyone would believe the half of what we would have to recount. Far from exaggerating our adventures and jumping on the bandwagon of sensationalism, we would probably have to tone them down a little. Not everyone believes in magic.

There was no lightning strike called down by some evil villain, no waving of wands or chanting of barbarous names… but magic was what we found in the living land, its ancient and sacred places… and in the birds that appeared to be guiding us on a quest we barely realised we were beginning. It was a journey that would see us questioning the meaning of beheaded saints painted on the walls of a medieval church and the arcane stories hidden in plain sight. It would lead us along the dragon lines, teaching us to listen to the whispering of the land and into the realms of vision.

It was a journey where “nothing happened”… and everything changed.”

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/05/28/the-kiss-of-death-g-michael-vasey/

3. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/05/28/dear-don-romans/ “Dear Don,

Seems a bit daft writing when I will probably see you before you get this, but you know what my memory is like… except for ‘useless’ information.

We really are going to have to go back up north… and this time via Hadrian’s Wall. If it hadn’t been for the snow we could have gone that way on the Scottish trip. Still, I’d like to show you the Mithraeum up there. Miles from nowhere and very little to actually see, of course… but you will feel it. The landscape wraps around it somehow.”

4. https://acoup.blog/2020/05/28/collections-the-battle-of-helms-deep-part-v-ladders-are-chaos/ “This is is the fifth part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep (IIIIIIIV) from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. In our last two parts, we looked at the organization of the two opposing forces. In particular, we noted that while Saruman had built what appeared to be a professional force capable of complex operations, in practice he had not done the legwork in organization or training to actually facilitate those complex operations. This week, we’ll see those flaws in action, as we look at the conduct of Saruman’s host’s siege operations, along with Théoden’s last minute defensive preparations. How can an understanding of medieval siege warfare inform the catastrophe that is Saruman’s fortress assault? And how do the organizational failings of his army lead to their tactical failings on the battlefield?”

5. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/helping-michael-with-poetry/ “Home schooling isn’t always easy. Sometimes I look at Michael’s assignment and wonder why he is doing university work in grade 8. I am sure my assignments were no where near as difficult as his are.

This week the battle was with poetry. He has an assignment to read a poem about a windstorm and then write his own poem in a similar form. The poem he had to read was packed with descriptions about the wind and how it sounded, felt, looked and even tasted to the poet.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/05/29/angel-messages-may-29-2020/

2. https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/how-to-stay-motivated-when-working-from-home/With the exception of 6 dreadful months, I’ve been working from home for over 25 years now. So I was blessed in that the COVID-19 lockdown didn’t hit me as hard as most. Talking to friends who aren’t used to working from home reminded me of how hard it can be for some.”

3. https://johnwhowell.com/2020/05/28/thursday-a-little-personal-twiggy-and-lucy-outside-3/

4. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/05/true-crime-thursday-armed-and-dangerous.html “Montanans are no strangers to bear encounters. Most times, it’s hard to tell who’s running away faster—the bear or the human. But when bears are hungry, not much stands in their way. They push through fences to eat calves, bust into chicken coops, knock down bird feeders, and pillage unattended campgrounds.

If bears become aggressive, pepper spray is recommended. However, if that’s not handy, you might have to improvise.

In 2010, near Huson in Missoula County, a woman let her three dogs out around midnight, not realizing a bear was a short distance away, snacking in an apple orchard. Two dogs started out into the yard. A third dog, a 12-year-old collie, remained with the owner in the patio. The two dogs sensed the bear and ran back into the house.”

5. https://marciamearawrites.com/2020/05/27/case-study-the-mandalorian/ “Hi gang! Craig here with you today. Every once in a while I like to pick something apart for the sake of a writing study. I always use film because more people are likely to have seen what I’m discussing.

I’ve never done this with a television series before, so we’ll see how it goes because there is no end in sight. I was feeling bad during lockdown, because I hadn’t binge watched anything, so I rewatched The Mandalorian. If this post is going to spoil something for you, stop here.

This series is eight episodes long, so far. That means every episode is 12.5% of the total. Keep this in mind as we go along.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://pilgrimage.studio/2020/05/28/todays-shot-136/

2. https://susansplace.blog/2020/05/28/guilty-or-innocent-part-11/

3. https://chelseaannowens.com/2020/05/28/thats-odd/

4. https://marciamearawrites.com/2020/05/28/saddle-up-saloon-blog-blusterin/

5. https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/05/28/thursday-photo-prompt-guardian-writephoto/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://teagansbooks.com/2020/05/28/review-by-teri-polen-fiona-finch-and-the-pink-valentine-bookreview-steampunk-books-and-such/ “Put your feet up and enjoy a whimsical break with this quick, lighthearted story. There’s some romance, and a lot of silliness. It’s a steampunk/Victorian setting. You might call it a long-short story or a novelette. This is a tale of an old lost valentine and the shenanigans that ensue when it turns up. Fiona […]”

2. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2020/05/28/immortal-wars-the-summoning-part-20-fiction-throwback/ “(Again, we shall revel in my teenage originality.  Everyone groan in unison.)

Disclaimer: Immortal Wars was the book I came up with and wrote in high school.  I hadn’t even hit college by the time I wrote the first two books.  That means I hadn’t developed my style yet, wasn’t good at self-editing, and the story was fairly basic. So, you’ve been warned that this is the ultimate author throwback segment for my blog and will show my author origins.  FYI-  I put the first book (The Summoning) through a Print-on-Demand publisher and the second one (Light, Blood, & Tears) never saw the light of day.  Enjoy!”

3. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/05/29/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-reviews-yafantasy-jean-lee-humour-geoff-le-pard-poetry-m-j-mallon/ “About Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

May 09, 2020 Briar’s Reviews rated it Four Stars and really liked it

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee is a fabulous, fantastical, young adult novel that will keep you captivated!

4. https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/look-out-for-those-below-the-tree-house-by-matt-hayward/With this new novel, Hayward delivers a coming-of-age story with all the horror, and heart, readers have come to expect with his work.”

During his thirteenth birthday, Tony’s stepfather is severely wounded from a strange bite on his neck. The sole police officer in Riverside searches the woods for the attacker. They tell Tony not to tell anyone, don’t start a panic. His father’s condition becomes worse overnight, and soon the town is ripped apart as people begin to change into moss-covered abominations.

Tony’s friends Ben Rodgers and Lee Tally, along with the local town bully, seek refuge in Rodgers’ tree house. Neighbors, even family, try to claw their way up the trunk of the tree, while the boys realize they’re going to run out of food and water.

All hope is lost, so the boys begin to have their first of”

5. https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2020/05/29/rosies-bookreview-team-rbrt-tudor-historicalfiction-katherine-tudor-duchess-by-tonyriches/ “I was first introduced to Tony Riches historical novels when I read the books in his Tudor Trilogy, about the founding and growth of the Tudor family. The history is compelling. For Mary – Tudor Princess, and this book, Katherine – Tudor Duchess, the reader experiences the Tudor family from a woman’s point of view. The author hasn’t lost a step in the transition.

Katherine Willoughby was born at Parham Hall in Suffolk in 1519, daughter of the 11th Baron of Willoughby and his second wife, Maria de Salina, who had come to England as a lady-in- waiting to Katherine of Aragon. With her father’s death, Katherine inherited the barony. Her wardship fell to King Henry VII, who sold it to Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, his brother-in-law.

Her story begins as she is about to leave to join the Duke’s household. Her mother, who will continue in her service to Queen Katherine, sees her daughter as a good match for Henry Brandon, the Duke’s five-year-old son who is in the line of succession to the throne. Katherine is not so sure.”

Summer tops? Shorts for women? Men?

Purse clutch?

Sandals?

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.