Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, humor & fun, Links, Links, MG & YA, Muse, Reading, Uncategorized, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Finding the Inner Truth/Beauty in Yourself by Traci Kenworth


Finding the Inner Truth/Beauty in Yourself

Traci Kenworth

The taunts and cruelty growing up can cause you to lose faith in yourself. To not want to be who you are. Anything special, anything unique, you work to do away with. Because that would make you different. And different is bad. Or at least, that seems to be what we’re taught. Keep the formation. Don’t step out of line. Dream these dreams, not those.

It can be a daunting reality for a lot of kids. If there’s one thing, I think school’s get wrong: it’s that. We’re not all meant to be put in a binder together. We’re not all meant to follow the same path despite how much easier it would be for the higher-ups. Being different is good. It brings other perspectives to the table. It can show us a path forward in life that we should’ve taken all along.

So, what do you do years down the road when you look back with regret at some of the things you wish you’d done but didn’t? Dreams have a way of passing us by if we don’t grip them hard and run with them. Things change though. Sometimes due to finances, sometimes to personal problems. Or through no fault of our own. We wake up one day and look back and wonder if we’d chosen a different way, where we’d be.

We can wonder and wish all we want. The fact is life happens. That career we wanted since we were old enough to decide, didn’t pan out. The marriage we hoped for fell apart. A lot of times I think it has to do with letting other people’s perspectives influence our own. We don’t think we’re good at something, so we turn aside. If we’d stuck it out longer maybe the pegs would’ve lined up.

Still, there’s always a new start. One day you might decide to go back to one of those dreams, make a living at it. You could ignore all the naysayers and just do what’s best for you. After all, no one has to live your life but you. No one has to decide what you will be, what you will find. Uncovering that inner beauty of something we’ve always wanted to do takes time.

It doesn’t shortchange us. We weren’t supposed to pursue the path before that moment for whatever reason. It doesn’t make it wrong or silly to try and recover the dream. It makes us fulfill a promise to ourselves maybe. We let our children grow and now it’s time to rediscover something for our benefit. Maybe you always wanted that mechanic shop. Or a trip to Europe. You can do so at a later date. Nothing wrong with that.

In your pursuit of dreams, things get overturned. When you’re young, it seems you have all the time in the world. All the energy. All the faith. As the day ages, you lose some of that enthusiasm. There are those sent to talk you out of an idea for whatever reason. Holding true to what you want and believe takes a lot of determination. It takes a lot of perseverance, but you can do what you set your mind to.

Only you can hold you back when it comes down to it. You promise yourself one day. Well, one day has arrived. Dig down deep and find that core, that strength that was always there. Waiting. Find the foundation, discover the new road. Life can be anything you want it to be. Sure, you might be starting down the end road in life. Your finances might not be where you want them to be. A few kids, a few grandkids later might seem like time to retire.

Don’t give up on yourself. Take that moment. Pursue that dream. And find the inner beauty within, that truth that was always meant to be. Have a great week, take care, God bless.

Some products you may be interested in. I may receive a small compensation for the advertising from the seller.

Some blogs around the web you may enjoy:

Come swim with me in Jupiter’s moons,

roam the red rolling hills of Mars

come back to rest against blue earth.

Welcome to a repeat of the series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful Culinary A – Z and a reminder, not only of the amazing variety of food we have available to us today from around the world, but delicious recipes to showcase them. Carol also introduces to cooking methods and kitchen equipment that assist in creating meals for all occasions.

Welcome today it’s the letter D …I have some exotic fruits for you and some lovely recipes I hope you enjoy!

  • Chris the Story Reading Ape: The Teritary Principles of Plot: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/08/03/the-tertiary-principles-of-plot-plans-gaps-crises-by-september-fawkes/ In storytelling, the primary principles of plot include goal, antagonist, conflict, and consequences. You can’t have a great plot without those elements first. The secondary principles of plot build directly off the primary, and they include progress, setbacks, costs, and turning points. As you likely guessed, the tertiary principles build off the prior two sets, and they include plans, gaps, and crises. Chris, always has such interesting posts! Check this out!
  • John Howell.com: https://johnwhowell.com/2022/08/02/30535/ In Keith’s words. “Using this photo (below) as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph (If you are curious about what we were photographing, it was the sun beginning to set over one of the domes of the mosque adjacent to the Taj Mahal. Click here to see my effort). Either put your offering (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before Sunday evening UK time. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
  • Story Empire: https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2022/08/03/characters-and-diversity-part-3-physical-ability/ Hello SE friends, Gwen with you today, and together we will venture further into the theme of diversity. In June, I wrote about including racial diversity in your stories. Here’s a link to that post. In July, I focused on financial diversity and offered suggestions which you can read here. Today’s topic is PHYSICAL ABILITY. Just as in the prior two posts, I will write from personal experience and invite you to share your experiences as well.
Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Family life, Links, Links, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Are We Haunted By Our Pasts? Traci Kenworth


Are We Haunted By Our Pasts?

Traci Kenworth

Sometimes what we write comes from within. Something in our pasts, a memory trying to break free. When we stare at the words, we’ve written we realize there’s a familiarity there. Considering what it might be, we wonder: where did that come from? Did it touch upon the time we fell from a bike on the gravel and skinned our knees, too eager to get home to Mom’s apple pie. Or was it even deeper? The unpleasant memory of a relative who assaulted us? My whole life, I’ve learned about forgiveness. Sometimes, that’s hard.

There were those in my family who couldn’t understand why I could “let” my ex get away with what he did. Simply, it was because I prayed and gave it to God. Not that I didn’t get angry about the events of my marriage and the days following after the end. The hurt. The realization. Tears. How could I not have realized what or who I’d married? The remembrance of his words telling me to slit my wrists like his girlfriend’s husband did, to prove my love to him. That was the last straw for me.

When we’re writing a character or a scene, we often don’t realize where or when we’re going to take them to a place where we ourselves have been. Things happen unconsciously. The good thing is because we’ve been there, we can identify. We can add the details that are true to the scene. How far we push the memory depends. We can go deep. Or we can just outline the events. Sometimes that’s easier for us to handle. The pushing helps us to relive what we went through and perhaps to release the pain. However, it can also trigger memories. We have to decide how far things go for our own comfort.

            Sadness sometimes evades my writing where needed even without me realizing I’m going there at times. I want to turn away. To put those memories to rest. But I realize, by telling my story, by relating through the character’s perspective, I can help others who’ve been through the experiences. That’s the thing about books. People think we pick them up and their words go away when we’re done. And granted, that happens with some books. Others pull us in, they get inside our skin. They transform us and our circumstances. They help us. We see others familiar with our pasts and relating to what they’ve been through. Books hit us in our guts and help to root us in healing and going forward.

            We may think we’re nothing like some characters. That we couldn’t do or say what they have. After the book is finished and out there, we stumble when we realize we may indeed have a streak or a pinch of them inside us. We wish we were as brave or adventurous as them. That we could have life turn out differently for us, if only. Sometimes, that’s crippling. Others, we realize that even if we knew, even if we could change things, the biggest turnover would be in our character. I wouldn’t change who I am now for anything. Not that I’m perfect. I’ve done and said things, horrible things, but I’ve also been at the pit of violence and made it out along with my children.

            They know me. They accept me for who I am. Flaws like everyone caused me to change, to grow, to learn better. I’m still striving to get better. To be a kinder, gentler person. Sometimes, my mouth betrays me. I swear way too much at times. I wish I didn’t. I pray that God would help me to tame my tongue. But as I age and settle into who I’ve become, I give myself a break. An allowance. Forgiving others is hard. Forgiving ourselves is even worse. We think we should’ve seen things. And we did. We just didn’t know to pay attention. If only can cripple a soul if you let it.

Our pasts judge us. They weigh us down. Nothing quite condemns our actions as we ourselves do. Moving beyond that takes mercy. For ourselves, for others. We don’t necessarily have to let that person back into our lives but holding on to that cliff of unforgiveness can ghost us. Moving on may be difficult. At the pinnacle of despair, I didn’t know how or what to do. For myself, for others. My illness forced me into a darkness I didn’t understand or know how to battle. I gave up. Only to find a peek of myself again.

Guiding myself back to health and life beyond has been one of the hardest challenges I had to face. When you hate others, you can bottle that up and beg God to take it from you. When you hate yourself, sometimes it feels like there’s no end. I couldn’t understand how a miserable wretch such as myself deserved to live. A conditioning I’d learned over years of abuse. I had been weak. I’d let myself be fooled and disgusted with myself, felt drained. Near death. It was my children who pulled me out at that point. Just remembering them. Journaling about them while in therapy. Their smiles, their hugs. They were my world.

They’re still my world. Are we haunted by our pasts? Heck, yeah. There’s not a single person I’ve met over the years that hasn’t done something they regret. Whether it was getting involved with an individual they shouldn’t have to abandoning their families. We may look down on others for what they’re going through but that’s just it. You DON’T know what someone’s going through. Health-wise. Relationship-wise. Morality-wise. Judging someone for their perceived failings is forgetting to look at ourselves in the mirror.

We’ve all been on a journey we wished we hadn’t taken. Now I’m not talking about someone who has obviously done something like murder or rape. All acts are not the same. I’m suggesting that you give your neighbor or your coworker or that person in the seat across from you on the subway some compassion. We all make mistakes. We all deserve to come back from them. Provided we’re sincere. With God’s forgiveness as well as our own. We often haunt our own lives with condemnations more than anything others could throw at us. Maybe that’s how God brings us to our knees. To accept redemption.

Below are some products you may like, I may receive a small compensation from the sellers:

  1. The Batman: https://amzn.to/3LAkpGO Because, who has a more haunted past?
  2. The Unwilling: https://amzn.to/3PwIMrX Who doesn’t love a good book?
  3. Cloud vs. Sepiroth: https://amzn.to/39LHJEo Two of the most legendary characters of the Final Fantasy 7 series in a two-player battle between them.

Here are some blog links you may enjoy.

  1. Kill Zone https://killzoneblog.com/2022/05/tkzs-words-of-wisdom.html This site has all kinds of advice for writers and not just the mystery/suspense writers. Come explore.
  2. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/05/fear-thesaurus-entry-a-secret-being-revealed/

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. 

In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both character arc and the overall story.

This thesaurus explores the various fears that might be plaguing your character. Use it to understand and utilize fears to fully develop your characters and steer them through their story arc. Please note that this isn’t a self-diagnosis tool. Fears are common in the real world, and while we may at times share similar tendencies as characters, the entry below is for fiction writing purposes only.

3. Angel Messages https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/05/21/angel-messages-may-21-2022/ An inspirational site!

4. Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog https://twodropsofink.com/2022/05/20/writers-are-you-trying-too-hard/

Especially after a success or two, I become elated and, believing (finally) I really am a writer, attempt to duplicate that last glory. 

I giggle to myself at the puns, murmur self-approval at the turns of phrases, and hear imagined readers’ gasps of delight at my ingenuity. 

Then, a red-yellow warning flare shoots through my brain before I can heap more accolades on myself—Uh-oh, ego ascendant.

The signs are unmistakable. If I ignore that flare, I know it heralds disaster: I’m trying too hard to write. 

5. This is Horror https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-20-may-2022/

Out today from author Holly Rae Garcia and Easton Falls Publishing, Parachute, a horror novella

Angela Rodriguez and her friends aren’t sure what they want out of life now that they’ve graduated high school, but they think there is plenty of time to figure it all out. When a trip to an abandoned elementary school leads to a break-in, they discover an old gym parachute. Raising the fabric above their heads, the group expects it to balloon out around them like it did when they were younger. But instead, the parachute reveals alternate universes and terrifying worlds. There’s only one rule… DON’T LET GO. Available in paperback and eBook formats, you can pick up your copy here.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, John Howell, author, Links, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

A Little Bit of Rouge There… by Traci Kenworth


A Little Bit of Rouge There, A Little Bit of Shade to Our Characters

Traci Kenworth

Foreshadowing has never been my strong suit. I see authors such as J.K. Rowling that have snuck items in books that the reader wouldn’t have even noticed in the beginning. And then you just look back in awe. How did they think that far ahead? I know mystery writers do it all the time. Sneaking things in that the reader might see as a diversion but are the absolute truth.

How do they know when to do that? I have a hard time figuring out when to add things as you can see. I know I have to slip it in somewhere but where is the question? Do you find yourself in the same boat or do you totally get those details in just where they need to be? Of course, I know the majority of writers go back through in drafts and add what they need. My problem is knowing how much to put in and where exactly.

I’ve read that some writers know the significance of every detail in the scene including the green curtains in the background. Elsewhere, a butterfly could symbolize rebirth. I’m not that meticulous when it comes to framing things. I would love to be. As I’ve said before, adding something in the second book that shows back up in the sixth is just phenomenal talent for some writers.

I know that in school, stories are examined by teachers and students to determine just what that antique doll sitting on the shelf means. What did the author mean by focusing on that sled in the movie? Theories are sought and discussed over and over. I’ve never been a fan of pulling things apart like that. I like to be more subtle. What does the story mean to me? What are the relevant details and how did they fit in that spot? Would I have done something different? It’s hard to say.

In college, further studies of the classics happened. If Beale Street Could Talk. The Catcher and the Rye. Both books to make you think. Especially as a younger person. It broadened your world. Made you see that everyone has their own suckish life but once you work through things, you discovered life is what life is. You make the best of it. It helps to put your own in perspective. Maybe you didn’t have it as bad as you think.

That’s what books do. They help us explore options. What could be versus what is. It’s only in the learning and exploring that we understand what the story is about. Foreshadowing is a tool writers use to set up a scene further in the future. Discovering when and how to add the clue is done differently by every writer. And let’s face it, some of the clues readers discover ended up there by accident.

I know it’s popular nowadays to think that a writer might have broken down every scene with objects that meant something to the story. The chair in the middle of the floor might showcase a kidnapping. A chest might lead a character on to a quest. Sometimes however, a detail in the story is just there. A character needs a place to rest. To discuss options with his or her friends.

I suppose I’d understand the ways writers insert shade into their stories more if I did the breakdowns of stories. Somehow though, that feels like almost an intrusion into them. I like a bit of mystery, a bit of wonder as to where the writer pulled that out of their page. Mystery writer I may never be, but from what I’ve learned while reading and absorbing the story, I can see the value in adding the clues.

It’ll be something I need to observe more in my reading so that I can apply it to my writing in the years to come. How about you? Do you like to tear stories apart and put them back together? Are you like me and don’t like to study every detail down to the author’s name? I just know what I like when I read it. It’s in the pages that we uncover the magic, the talent of each writer before us and how they came to weave their genius into the story.

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Below are some links you might like to view:

  1. Pitch Wars https://pitchwars.org/upcoming-release-red-thread-of-fate-by-lyn-liao-butler/ Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant. Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.
  2. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/01/how-to-use-touch-in-writing/

Touch is a basic human need. It’s the first sense we develop and our first social interaction at birth.

The Power of Touch.

Imagine walking barefoot through a forest. The softness of moss between your toes, the cool slime of mud, the pokes and scratches of pine needles, sticks, and stones.

Think of the kitchen and the intense heat of the oven. Remember kneading and punching bread dough, making deep indentations in the mixture, releasing stored aggression on the dough. (Good therapy.)

Touch has two different systems, factual (location, movement, and pressure) and emotional. Both types are used in writing.

3. Story Empire Blog https://storyempirecom.wordpress.com/2022/01/28/what-can-be-done-if-the-desire-to-write-is-missing/

Hi SEers, John is with you today. I hope you are looking forward to a great weekend. I know I am. Today’s post is all about providing some perspective on those times when no matter how much a writer knows they should get to their writing, they just dread it. I have had those moments. It’s that awful time where writing sounds like it will be a miserable experience.

These times may not last long, but while they are there, they become a cause for unreasonable concern about the future as a writer. I mention unreasonable since, like most things that go bump in the night, these concerns under the white-hot light of reality tend to fall away.

So, what kind of white-hot light can be switched on to expose these feelings of not wanting to write to a reality check. The title of this post gives a hint. Some things can be said out loud that will chase the specter of doubt to St Louis. I am suggesting some things can be said when faced with a lack of desire to write. Once any of these are expressed, writing will take on a revitalized characteristic. Some of these are meant to be humorous to show how laughable it is not wanting to write.

4. Robbie’s Inspiration https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/robbies-inspiration-my-word-for-the-year-patience/

Several people in the blogosphere had selected a word to inspire them for 2022. One of the best such words I’ve encountered is curator shared by Marsh Ingrao of Always Write blog. You can read her post here: https://alwayswrite.blog/2022/01/26/wqw-4-word-of-the-year-or-writers-choice/

Seeing as the bloggers have collective colluded to twist my rubber arm with regards to a wordy inspiration, I have chosen ‘Patience’. I shared my choice with my long suffering husband and, after he’d picked himself up off the floor after laughing himself silly, I composed this poem to keep me on the path of patient virtuousness:

5. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2022/01/27/light-years-from-home-by-mike-chen-blogtour-bookreview-scifi-family/

Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.

Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.

When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.

Posted in Muse, Reading, writers, YA

Teen Topics: to the tune of Characters 5/4/2021 Traci Kenworth


Teen Topics: to the Tune of Characters 5/4/2021

Traci Kenworth

Over the years, we can grow stagnant. In an effort to try a new spin on things for the future of the blog, I’m going to be trying to do something different. I want to focus less on being a blogger, more on being an author. This decision has come about from various happenings in my life and changes in the world around us. I’m a teen author and want to encourage young people to visit my blog as well as others from all walks of life. I hope this doesn’t disappoint some of you, but I realize it may. I’ve enjoyed the success of the blog up to this point. I simply want to reach out to those who may wish to read me when I get published.

So, without further ado: Teen Topics to the Tune of Characters

This week: bffs and how somehow the oddest friends make the best friends.

How did you two meet?

Lenore: “Class assignment.”

Jori: “Her group bullied me in the hallways.”

What was the deciding factor to bring about the friendship?

Lenore shrugs. “We needed each other.”

Jori: “She seemed so breakable. Like me at times. At first, I figured she was doing an act. Pretending to like me just so I’d do the homework for her. But—she really surprised me.”

How?

“She stood up for me. Knowing it could wreck her world.”

Lenore?

“Well, I couldn’t let them hurt her anymore. I’d been in her position. Not from the school clique but—others.” She wiped a tear away. “I just didn’t want to see her end up in a dark closet. Crying her guts out.”

What do you appreciate most about each other?

Jori: “Her kindness. She’s part of such a large group. Instead of being the queen bee I thought she was, she curbed the others desire to pummel me. At last, I’m making friends with those I didn’t think I ever would. I get to be around a guy I didn’t have a hope of doing so, months before. Even if he never acknowledges my existence, it’s been worth it.”

Lenore: “Give him time. Give them all time. They’ll see what I see. Someone to stand beside me when everything falls apart.

Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, #tanka#haigu#senryu#haiku#haibun#cinquain#etheree#nonet#shadorma, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, Muse, Reading, senryu, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry

Three Senryu and a Short Story Traci Kenworth


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Mementos scattered
across the map of the world
pictures of times past

all recall
happier days now
singed in ash

journals
the spyglass
no clues

Keepsakes

Traci Kenworth

How long had it been? Those stolen moments? Those discovered treasures. She pressed her fingertips to each. Oh, how she missed him. Days scattered into weeks and months. And finally, years.

She picked up the spyglass. When had he used it last? Had he found what he’d been looking for? Or did the engravings deny him translation. Many times, over their relationship, she’d seen him baffled and intrigued by what history had to offer.

Egypt had been their last work-vacation. Her, in the hotel conference her boss had arranged for his employees. Him, the remains of a new-found mummy. When she’d last held his hand, he’d croaked out something about plagues. Had she heard him correctly?

The map slowly curled its edges while she went to prepare something for lunch. She turned on the faucet to get water to boil, and the liquid splattered in the metal sink, blood-red. Thick as molasses.

Outside, locusts flung themselves repeatedly at the windows.

She backed away from it all. Closed her eyes. No, she was imagining. When she looked again, a meteor of fire flashed across the skies.

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Posted in #tanka #haiku #poetry, a bit of seriousness, blogs, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Craft, Muse, Reading, senryu, Short stories, Writing and Poetry

Three Senryu and a Story 8/6/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Dead windows wait for
the joy of the children once
roomed within their walls

curtains hang
limp with dust as a
stillborn cries

pictures 
decay while 
tears drop

The House on Vasket Street

Traci Kenworth

They’d moved in three months ago. Dreams full. Hopes high. Delaney inspected her face in the passenger mirror window. Her face had filled out. She patted her stomach. Any day now. She glanced over at Keith and the twins in the back street. Life was good.

The moving van pulled in front of the house while they parked in the drive.

Shouted orders came from one of the guys in the truck to his fellow crew.

Keith smiled at her and rushed to unlock the door for the movers while she rested her head back and closed her eyelids.

Had that only been three months ago? It seemed a lifetime as they wheeled her into the operating room. An emergency C-section. She ignored the nurses’ whispers about her paleness. She’d heard too much of that conversation of late. She didn’t need anyone to tell her what she saw when she glanced in the mirror: she’d failed.

She bowed her head over the basinet as the moving van came.

The twins giggled down the hall as their daddy played with them for perhaps the last time in a long while.

She’d failed at marriage too.

Tears scattered on the floor, catching on the frame of a picture.

And then a loving-hand found hers and crouched beside her, his sobs mingling with her own.

“I’m sorry so sorry,” he said.

“It’s me you need to forgive.”

“It isn’t your fault.”

“Or yours.”

They kissed. The movers waited out on the curb.

“I’ll tell them.” He stood and she wandered down the hall to the twins.

Perhaps things weren’t perfect. Life rarely worked that way. But it was time for a new start. She hugged her children and led them downstairs to make dinner for her family.

The End.

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Posted in horror, MG & YA, Muse, Writing and Poetry

The Muse Story: The House Traci Kenworth 3/13/19


gothic

The House

Traci Kenworth

Fifteen-year-old, Jandy Burrows started up the stairs of the old, decaying house. He’d been here two hours. Only rusty nails and dust greeted him. He was sure he’d have better luck in the attic. The smell in the air turned to Sulphur, he could taste the ruin on his tongue. Ashes and dead insects.

Eyes peered at him from above.

He paused mid-step.

No. He shook his head. Must’ve been a trick of the light. He clutched his cellphone tighter. He needed this. Not some fake haunting. The real deal. To prove to the others that he wasn’t a wetbed. A weakling of no importance. If he could go head-to-head with the spirits, they’d have to leave him be. He glanced left and right. Sure, was a lot of rot. The wood splintered from age in its frame. The sound of something thumping up ahead caught his attention. He halted. Keep on. Prove yourself.

 A noise below caused the crunch of his sneakers to still. He flashed his cellphone toward the broken bannister. Something moved just out of his sight. Had the group of haters from school caught on to his purpose? Were they trying to screw things up for him? Or claim what he hoped to find? He stepped back the way he’d come, and a cold breath blew upon the back of his neck. Goosebumps pebbled his skin. He swung in a slow circled back toward the attic. Nothing. He glanced below. Were they there? Even now waiting to torment him? He steeled himself. Don’t fold. They’re the cowards.

With a nod to himself, he headed further toward the attic. It was mere paces away. A low bend and he was through. He flashed his cellphone about. Damn, it was worse in here than below. He noticed part of the floor was missing. He moved back to safer ground. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Punk that. He needed this. For the legend to be true.

He glanced around. Where are you Katey O’Neal?

Two balls of light rose from the hole in the attic floor.

A shiver swept his spine. Holy Hell. The legend was real. Or realish. He’d see how much in the time before him. He stepped toward the attic door. The globes moved closer.

One curled around his pantsleg. Another, his arm. They tickled and—itched. A rash not unlike an allergic reaction popped along his flesh. His breathing hitched. He backed away again. The orbs hovered where he’d been. His breathing resumed normal. The rash retreated. Something brushed the back of his neck and he swung around. The balls of light bounced around his frame. “Help me or get out of my way,” he said to them.

They flowed in a circle toward the attic. Inside, what looked like a face formed.

“Are you her? Katey O’Neal?”

The face strengthened and long, dark hair swept to the sides. Slowly, the rest of the body glowed into place. The orbs rejoined into her hands.

“Come to stare at the Mistress of Pain?”

He shook his head. “No. I’ve come to employ you.”

“Interesting. What would you have me do?” She crept across the floor.

He motioned to the outside of the house. “Take those down that antagonize me.”

“And why would I do this?” She blew on her curved nails as though she’d just polished them.

“I can feed you.”

She smiled.

“I’ll lure them here. You dispose of them any way you wish.”

“And how long would our arrangement be for?”

“As long as I reside in Bracton.”

She glanced down then bared her teeth. “When do I start?”

“There are four teens outside the house right now. They’ve come to see me chicken out. You’re going to devour them just like their chicken.”

She swung around the attic. “Bring them to me. We have a deal.”

The End.

Posted in fantasy, MG & YA, Muse, Uncategorized, Writing and Poetry, YA

The Muse Story: The Sky Library by Traci Kenworth


a portal above a library

The Sky Library

Traci Kenworth

Lindora stared at the volumes of books before her. How to choose just one? Above her, the library ceiling disintegrated to a picture of the sky. Images of clouds bathed the spines of the books. She stepped back. Had the world changed? Or just the library? If she listened close, she could hear the conversation between her Aunt El and her Uncle Namor. She raised a hand to one of the books. Soft, warm sunlight nestled her hand.

Did she dare?

She opened the book. Wind swept through her hair. Something tugged at her. Thousands of light spears flashed around her. She reached out to touch one and saw her arm waver and then solidify like the rest of her body. The light disappeared. She glanced around her. Where was she? She stood in a meadow somewhere. With purple grass. Her mouth opened. How?

She took a step then another and found herself yanked back through to the library. Her Uncle Namor shook a finger at her and said, “You must never enter the light.”

Her mouth worked. “But I was just opening a book.”

“There is no such thing as just, child.” He gripped her shoulder and took the book from her hand. “It is too dangerous to play with.”

“But Uncle Namor. Books aren’t supposed to do that.”

“Do what? Run along and get your sandwich and milk. Your Aunt El likes everyone to be punctual.”

She continued to stare at him.

“Go on, go on.” He kept an eye on the ceiling as she left the room, her mouth hung open. You could no longer see the sky.

It was days before she found herself alone in the library again. She wondered if her aunt and uncle had devised so many projects for her to help with to discourage her from her curiosity. What was going on in the library? Was it some sort of door to another world like in the Narnia books? She must find out. She crept inside and closed the door. Within seconds, she touched the spines of the books. As before, a bright light shone down from the open sky above.

She nodded and picked a book to open. At once, she found herself on a hill looking down at a river below and a wagon train parked there. Did she dare? She made her way down the slope. Close enough, she peeked inside. A girl in pigtails sat there with a border collie inside. She smiled and said, “Hi.”

The girl stared at her. “Who are you? Where’d you come from? Why are you wearing such clothes?”

“I’m Lindor. From Ohio. And this is how we dress there.”

“What a strange name. And how’d you get from Ohio to here without a horse?”

Lindor smiled. “I traveled through my aunt and uncle’s library.”

“What?”

The sound of horses clopping came.

“That’ll be my father. He was letting the horses drink. He’ll sure be surprised to find you.”

Lindor drew back. “Maybe he shouldn’t.”

“Your darn right, young lady, he shouldn’t.” Uncle Namor took hold of Lindor and they were back inside the library in a flash.

“But why couldn’t I stay, Uncle Namor?”

“You think folks aren’t going to find the things you do strange? Why you might’ve been thought a witch or some sort of nonsense. The price you pay for being able to step through the portal may be too much.” His finger bobbed as he spoke. “But—perhaps it’s time to train you.”

“Train? Oh, really?”

“It seems it’s necessary to keep you from mischief.” He nodded. “Be here tomorrow. Ten sharp.”

“Yes, Uncle Namor.”

At ten the next morning, she found her Aunt El waiting for her. She peered down at Lindor from behind her rather-large eyeglasses. “So. You’ve been investigating the portal?”

She kept her gaze down at the floor. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“Well, before curiosity gets you killed, you must learn the rules.”

“Rules?”

Her Aunt considered her. “First, the portal is off-limits unless you are sent on a mission. Since Your Uncle Namor and I are getting up in the ages, we could use an assistant.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“Second, you only enter when the sky is blue. When it is dark, things could go wrong. The blue is a call to us and we answer it as such. Third, and final, never tell anyone there where you’re from.”

Lindor stared at her. “But won’t they guess with how I dress?”

Her Aunt swung around to the bookshelf. She frowned then selected a book. Each of these books will show you the appropriate clothing. You just reach in and snag the clothing and then you’re ready to go.”

“What if they speak a different language?”

“You pull that from these books here.”

“What’s our purpose?”

Her Aunt El smiled. “We do it for humanity’s sake. We are the guardians of the gateway. It has been in our family’s protection for many generations. We have never failed the call.”

“I’m not sure I won’t mess up, Aunt El.”

She put a hand to Lindor’s shoulder. “We all mess up, child. It’s the righting of things that we accomplish in our own way.”

The portal above turned blue. They shared a smile.

Just as quick, Lindor’s smile turned to a frown. “How do I know which books to choose?”

“Listen to the call. Can’t you hear it?”

A soft voice came through. “Help. Someone.”

The portal displayed the same girl in the wagon Lindor had visited.

“Go to her, child.”

Lindor made to go forward. Her aunt stopped her. “Clothes, hairstyle, and the words of the common man.”

Lindor searched for the books she needed. The clothes she opened the page to appeared on her person. Instantly, her hair took the style shown as well. Braids and ribbons. A simple prairie dress. And when she opened her mouth, the pioneer jargon filled her voice.

“Remember to be careful. Listen to the portal. It won’t be easy. But you will find your way. Now go.”

Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, MG & YA, Muse, Romance, writers, Writing and Poetry

Writerly Things 12/10/18: Plans for New Year


background
Christmas

Writerly Things…12/10/18 Plans for the New Year

Traci Kenworth

 

Considering

Are any of you considering changes to your process, blogs, marketing, etc. this year? This is the time of year, I sit down and figure out what I want to do for the new year. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I start by re-arranging my house. I’ve got four more rooms to do so. I’m going to be looking at painting and updating what I can. So, I guess I should say, remodeling is in my future. It’s been a long time since I could afford to do anything but now that finances are improving, we can tackle projects that we weren’t able to before.

 

Improving

What about your blogs? Is there any shake-ups headed their way? I’m considering bumping up from personal for my Traci Kenworth blog and also bumping my Loleta Abi to personal for now. I may bump both up to the next tier this year. I want to have freedom to do what I want with my blogs and that’s why I’m considering those options. I will be doing at least one post on Loleta Abi a week, perhaps two. I’m thinking of doing a review, a post like Writerly Things, or bring the Muse in and do some flash fiction. Or prompts. The possibilities are endless! As I’ve told a few of you, Traci Kenworth will be for my YA stuff and Loleta Abil will be for my romances and such. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve tackled two blogs previously.

 

Options

What are your options for going forward? Are you starting a blog? A podcast? They’re two of the ways to reach others. I’m hoping to bring more YA readers to my Traci Kenworth blog. I’m thinking of ways to do so. Also, my plans for writing are going to be pushed up. I want to be able to submit more stories this year, so that will take more courage. It took a little to post my story in the Two Drops of Ink 1000 words images contest. I had fun with the story and hope others do as well.

 

It’s been another awful year for us with finances, but a bit of a miracle came our way just a few days ago and our finances are looking up. Now, if I can just get this writing thing down, I’ll be set. Of course, I know there are always ups and downs in writing as well as life but I’m putting my trust in the Lord to guide us as he has kept us going all this time. We’ve sunk into a bit of a hole but we will slowly climb out and push ahead. My son will be entering school again mid-January and we’re hoping my daughter’s work picks up and she will be going to college next fall. I usually take a break between Thanksgiving and New Year’s but this year, I’m not going to do so. Have a great week, take care, and God bless!

Posted in a bit of seriousness, Beta, blogs, Craft, Family life, MG & YA, Muse, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry

Writerly Things…Carrying On When it Feels Like an Uphill Battle


Snowman in winter
snowman

Writerly Things 12/3/18:

Carrying on When it Feels Like an Uphill Battle

Traci Kenworth

 

Rejection

Everyone experiences it sooner or later. Someone who writes professionally continues to face the guillotine over and over. Even those at the top of the chain, I’m sure. It’s a part of the publishing life. Sometimes it feels like you have to flail around with a pickaxe as you struggle to hang on during your ascent. It can make you drop to the bottom and start all over again. It can get you stuck halfway up. The battle happens daily if you’re in submissions. Sit down, write, get an email from the agent/publisher you submit to, and feel as though that pickaxe just gutted you on the climb.

Life

It can throw stones at you. Accidents. Debt. Death. A child needing extra care and attention. More. It’s a never-ending cycle. You just keep on, putting one foot at a time up that mountain, and holding on for dear life. The point is, life happens. You deal with it the best you can. Sometimes the writing suffers or goes away all together. The Muse dries up. You try and try but nothing happens. The roadmap isn’t clear. You feel like a fledging newbie though you’ve been traveling this path for ages. One day, things will click again. You’ll catch sight of the Muse and aim your noose carefully to not scare her off. You adjust and juggle what comes in your own way. And then, it happens!

Success

This is different for everyone. Some writers are one-hit wonders. Some hit the middle ground. A few lucky strike gold in those hills. Some writers never get the chance. They struggle and hope but the dream never comes to pass. How do you go on, you whisper, sure this is the end? Honestly, you just do. I started writing when I was young, I’ve reached middle-age and despite some earthquakes and tornados in my life, I’m just about to go into the trenches again. I like to think, despite the altering boulders tossed my way in life, it’s not too late. Success lies around the corner, if I just don’t let go of that pickaxe.

 

Still editing, getting closer to getting ready to query. One day at a time. I wish life was easier sometimes. The wrong answer given often gets you knee-deep in quicksand. I learned this the hard way and hope things pan out in the end when I face what’s headed my way. Hugs to all who are having bad times right now, believe me when I say sometimes life does suck. What keeps me going are the bright spots, my friends, my family. Never lose sight of the goal. Have a great week, take care, and God bless!