Posted in a bit of seriousness, dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, humor & fun, Muse, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

There’s Trees Out There, But What Else?

Tolkien's Cover Designs for the First Edition ...
Tolkien’s Cover Designs for the First Edition of The Lord of the Rings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s Trees Out There, But What Else?

Traci Kenworth


Sometimes it’s hard to decide what should be in your stories. A hidden brook? An enchanted forest? Elves? All can be fun and yet, just as discouraging. You don’t quite want to bring someone else’s tales to life. You want different. Unique. Where to begin? Listen to your characters. Is there a new twist you can put on giants or dwarfs? Maybe enslaving one or the other to a master who becomes a threat to both kinds? Someone who intends to use the populations to control the world? The possibilities are endless.

I love the LOTR world as much as anyone, but I want to make my take on the beings within unique. Thus, one of my monsters has hobbit feet. Hairy, bare, no-shoes-here ones. Although, from the rest of the creature’s make-up, you’d find a hard time finding anything cute about them. There meant to show the flaw in the design of the monster being able to assimilate itself into the human world.

I started out with small plans for my story background, but it grew more complicated, more complex along the way, until I had a world I love to explore. A world hidden among our own, with principles older than time. I’ve created a people who shouldn’t exist, but through our need for them, do. They are the guardians, the last protectors of mankind. Bursting out of the shadows, they save us from the evil that hangs onto the edges of society. Yet, they don’t want to be our saviors, but our teachers, to bring us back to what matters in our hearts.

I’m fascinated by their village, how it exists, who they are, what they mean to us. I know monsters and magical beings don’t usually mix in the same stories, but in my writing, they do. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m always excited to see just over the next hill, behind that Spruce tree, into the valley below. Magic exists if we wish to see it around us. I hope to bring you all along on those journeys.

Posted in humor & fun, writers, Writing and Poetry

The Leibster Blog Award






English: Photograph of Mount Vernon, Fairfax C...
English: Photograph of Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia. George Washington’s Home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve been tagged by YA Author, Vanessa Barger for The Leibster Award. It’s where I tell you 11 Fun Facts about myself, answer 11 questions, and come up with another 11 questions for the bloggers I choose. So let’s get started:


11 Fun Facts:


1. I used to LOVE coffee but it was bad for me, the doctor said, so I switched to the milder caffeine tea. Actually, tea was my first hot drink crush so it was kind of like coming home after being away for so long.


2. I LOVE animals. Tame or wild, though I don’t go out of my way to visit the wild, “up close and personal.” Lol.


3. Revising is the “It” thing for me. I just find it brings such promise, pulling together everything and making sure the vision works.


4. Worldbuilding often goes hand-in-hand with my stories. I think it’s a throw-back to all the fantasy books/stories I devoured when a youth.


5. Mystery is another favorite of mine. Although, I haven’t read much mystery lately. I’m fascinated by the puzzle of them, the truth behind all. Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew and The Three Investigators were a few I followed.


6. I’m gearing up to move into a bigger house as soon as I locate one that suits my family and I’ve been keeping busy packing, packing, packing. You never realize how much you accumulate over the years!


7. I am both repelled and fascinated by The Walking Dead series. At first, I couldn’t watch and then recently, I was drawn back in.


8. Cats are another thing that fascinates me. Their personalities, their actions, their way of life. I’m a cat at heart, I suppose. Lol.


9. During Christmas present opening, I’m more excited about what I’ve gotten others and watching them open it, hoping they like it, than I am about what I get myself.


10. I’ll be gearing up within the next 2-3 months to sub.


11. My writing process has gone from fevered pitch to slow as I concentrate on learning and practicing the lessons.




The 11 Questions Vanessa asked:


1. What is your favorite vacation you’ve ever taken? Washington D.C. with my son for his class trip a few years ago. I loved exploring George Washington’s home and learning about the ghost that lives there. There were other fascinating places we visited, but this one stood out the most to me. It’s simplicity and yet “homey” feel to it. Oh, and the goosebumps, wondering if the ghost would put in an appearance. It didn’t. But with that atmosphere, it’s not hard to imagine it being there.


2. What is your biggest pet peeve? Being late for something. I’m usually early to whatever I go to. I just think it’s better that way.


3. What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? I tried watching The Wrong Turn once. I had to turn it off after the first few scenes. It just made me sick. I like movies that don’t necessarily show the gore or don’t “dwell” on it anyway. I’ve seen my share of Jason, Freddy, and Michael Meyers believe me. What really “scared” me though was a television series I snuck down into the living room when I was little to watch: Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot.” I had nightmares about that cellar/basement scene for months. Lol. Mostly because the bed in my room was pushed up against the attic door at the time and I kept imagining vampires “breaking through.”


4. Name one food you cannot live without? Hmm. Tomatoes. Yep. LOVE them.


5. Pirates or ninjas? Pirates, I suppose. Though in reality, I wouldn’t have liked to experience the reality of them but ninjas–that’s just asking to be killed or seriously maimed.


6. What is your favorite childhood movie? Where the Red Fern Grows maybe. Oh! No! The Black Stallion. The friendship between Alec and the horse was truly memorable.


7. Do you have any pets? Yes. Three cats: Miss Socks, Midnight, and Miss Tinky. One dog: Bear.


8. What is the best piece of advice you’ve never taken? To do what makes me happy. It’s taken me forever to get that lesson home and now I am with writing. I encourage my children to pursue their dreams because let’s face it: “do something practical” makes you miserable.


9. Road trips. Good or bad? Depends on who you’re with and what you do to occupy your time. We used to take looong trips when I was a kid with three or four vehicles following one another. It was a blast to visit places we hadn’t planned on (my dad was spontaneous about stopping here or there). Nowadays, the trips have grown to 2-3 hours (still a long while) but the kids and I keep busy with songs, trivia questions, and I spy.


10. If you had to spend the night in the woods and could only bring one thing to entertain you, what would it be? Hmm. The woods at night is spooky to me, so that in itself would be entertaining enough. Some S’mores would be nice though and is always a conversation piece.


11. Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. I spend the “early” morning going through emails, blogs, etc. and then towards late morning get to the writing. Usually, I take a brief break between the “business” side of writing and the actuality of it. It kind of shrugs things off and helps me focus. Then I spend the first 5-10 minutes re-reading over the last scene and go on from there.




Okay. My bloggers to tag: Stina Lindenblatt, Julie Musil, Penny Randall, Kelbian Naidoo, Andie Russell, and Miranda Buchanan. Yes, I know that’s short of the 11 you’re supposed to, but most bloggers have already been tagged, I think. Good luck, ladies, here’s your 11 questions and play with it!


1. What’s your favorite thing about Spring?


2. Any big changes in your life coming up? A move, book coming out, etc?


3. Do you enjoy the indoors or the outdoors and why?


4. What creeps you out? Spiders or snakes?


5. Whose your favorite character on The Walking Dead?


6. Do you read in a wide variety of genres?


7. What has become the biggest “bore” for you when it comes to a book? Theme or character-wise?


8. If you had to do one thing different/over in your writing career, what would it be?


9. Best book you’ve read lately?


10. Dark Fairytales or light?


11. What unusual thing do you have hanging on your wall/s?


Posted in a bit of seriousness, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

Regulating Your Writing Time

A Writing Kind of Day
A Writing Kind of Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Are You Regulating Writing Time to the Background?


Traci Kenworth




It’s so easy to let time get away from us. Letting time slip away that’s reserved for writing here and there due to errands, appointments, life is hard to get back. I know I’ve been going through this for a while now and it’s like being stuck in a whirlwind. You promise yourself you’ll make that lost time up another day, another hour. The problem is, every day we face the risk of losing more. Soon, it becomes a pattern, dare I say, even a habit to skip? Surely when life stops being so complicated, we can get back to our Muse. If we don’t put up a stop sign—even for just ten minutes out of our day—writing becomes less important to us.


Now, I know there are days we can skip on occasion, but when it adds up to weeks or even months, we’re ultimately hurting ourselves. It’s tough enough to make it in the writing world without becoming our own worst enemy. Not spending time doing something you love (and I assume you love writing, why else would you do it?), makes it easier to let it slip to hobby status and then just fall by the way side. It’s hard to say, “No,” you can’t do something when you’re a writer. After all, the majority of people in your life assume it won’t be a bother to you to take care of something. Your writing doesn’t account for bosses, time cards, and set hours. So letting things slide shouldn’t matter.


Oh, if they only realized. Writing is a business. If you don’t do it, you don’t get a chance to be published, an opportunity to be paid by your bosses (the publishing house/s). So don’t feel guilty for scheduling time to write. More time writing also equals more growth in your work. Take the time. Stick to it. Schedule appointments around it as much as possible. Now, this is not to say, emergencies won’t come up and I’m not saying to ignore them when they do. Just don’t let your set time become less and less until there’s nothing there anymore. Because getting the Muse to work again, takes a long time. That’s time that could be spent moving on to the next level in your career. Lesson learned. Now, to get back to it.


Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, writers, Writing and Poetry

Try, Try, Try Again

Louis L'Amour
Louis L’Amour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Try, Try, Try Again

Traci Kenworth


Rejection sometimes puts us up against a wall. It can be heartbreaking to get turned down on a story yet again. The doubts, the slips of self-confidence, the frustration. All take place. What we can’t let happen is the desire to just give up. We’ll never reach our dreams of publishment without facing the dreaded, “nos.” Good can come of this, however. It teaches us to persevere. And isn’t that a big lesson in life?

When you take your first step, you fall. It’s unavoidable. But what is avoidable, is the quitting mentality. You are going to face hurdles just like everyone else is/has. It’s okay. We’re all here for one another, all willing to give that boost up. The choice is whether we’re willing to accept it or not. Of course, I get discouraged, even cry sometimes. It’s all part of the battle.

If I turned aside and walked away from writing, it would be a big mistake for me. Because I’d miss the successes as well as failures. When I first started out, I focused on the goal of sharing my stories. If I could touch one person, I’d be happy. Well, that happened and I mad a new goal. Now, I want to reach as many people as possible with them. I want to know that my characters can inspire, reflect the drive of those around them, and make you fall in love with them.

I went from merely wanting others to read my books, to now wanting to be published. Dreams grow bigger with each step we take, so be prepared. I’ve been thinking about long-term goals too, lately. I’ve decided I don’t want to be a one or even five book wonder. I want to write continuously, and publish as frequently as possible. This doesn’t mean I won’t take off days here and there, but what I mean is I want to be a consistent writer. Louis L’Amour. Danielle Steele. Stephen King. These are all names of writers who beat the odds in the sheer numbers of books they have out there.

I don’t want to disappear in five years, or even ten. I want to be the steady storyteller I know I can be. Will I face rejection over that time? Sure. But I’m going to keep trying no matter what it takes or how much time passes. I will continue to try, try, try again. What are your goals at the moment? Long term? Are you hoping to be “steadfast” or would you rather hit it big and be happy with a moment’s success? All questions to ponder and decide on what we’re really doing this for.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Writing and Poetry

Award Time

Hello. I’ve recently received two new blogger awards. I’m honored to be thought of, there are so many blogs out there, it’s truly heartwarming to be chosen. I’ve actually been a bit of a slack on reviews these past couple weeks, choosing instead to run cover reveals while I prepare for surgery. Since I will have 6-8 weeks recovery time to go, I plan to hit the books again and come up with some to perhaps add to your to-be-read list as well as add more writing articles in the future. I’ll try to stick to my schedule of posting twice a week, preferably Tuesdays and Thursday, with the occasional third once a month done with the ladies of yaff Muse-wise. For now, here’s some great blogs to check out:

1. The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment

2. Julie Musil, Children’s Author

3. My First Book

4. The Blood-red Pencil

5. Cupid’s Literary Connection

Congratulations to the recipients and thank you all for stopping by!! Many thanks go out to Chandara for giving me these awards.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

A Journal of Ideas

Journal of the History of Ideas
Journal of the History of Ideas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Journal of Ideas

Traci Kenworth


Do you keep one? Do you find it useful? I have both a journal and a jar filled with ideas. There basically just those that have come to mind either from dreams or jotting down notes and presto, they appear. The problem for me is I have so many continuous story thoughts that everything is brimming to the full. Does that mean that I’ve stopped writing things down? Not at all. Because today’s blast of notions might diminish or perhaps not even work out in the story I have in mind.

Yes, someday the well might dry up and if that happens, I want to be prepared. On that day, I want to be able to dip into the reserves and bring up gold. Not that I don’t skim through my concepts now, it’s just that with so many new ideas, I ration what I use of the old for now. Saving for that rainy day, perhaps. I believe I have so many possibilities because I try and write every day, at the same time, just like the pros do.

I think that continuous work toward my goal, inspires the ideas to open up and flow. Now, there might come a day when I face a dryspell, but that’s when I’ll reach for the jar or journal and plug away, doing my best to continue with a story. So how about you? Do you struggle with finding “enough” story elements? A bit of freehand writing might help turn that around. Just sit down and write what comes to mind no matter how silly or rough. Use that to develop your story.

One thing’s for sure: if you work your Muse, it will supply what you need. So keep a journal, a jar, even hints on a word document. They’ll be there when you need them, to help get the words down, to finish your story.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, writers, Writing and Poetry

When Life Gets in the Way…

young life
young life (Photo credit: lorenzo cuppini verducci)

When Life Gets in the Way

Traci Kenworth


You’re going along strong, every word is falling into place, every scene playing off of each other when *boom* something in life happens. It can be a car accident, the birth of another/or your first child, or as often happens, health problems. What do you do when any of these events happen? Do you give up? Put your writing away for a while? Struggle through?

For me, the keeping on seems to not only help but to get me over the hill and coasting along again. I won’t say it’s easy. In fact, sometimes, it’s a downright rough but things can and do turn around. How? Brainstorming. Jotting down anything and everything that comes to mind on a story helps get the creative juices flowing.

So, too, does pressing forward on a piece. Maybe you only get two lines down, that’s still an accomplishment. It’s setting you up for the next move, and the next one after that. Just keep pushing the boundaries and you’ll find yourself getting further immersed in your wip again. And before you know it, “the end,” will come along.

Any tips on how to keep going when things get tough? I’m sure we all have our own way of pounding on those keys and making our book open up to us again. I’ve found when life throws serious situations my way, to turn back to my writing, it’ll pull me through. And often, when the scare is over, I not only faced it to the best of my ability, I also have a lot to show for my efforts. How about you?


Posted in writers, Writing and Poetry

A Craft Book Review

Cover of "The Elements of Style, Fourth E...
Cover of The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Craft Book Review: The Elements of Style

Traci Kenworth


The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is one book I think every writer has not only heard of but has on their bookshelf somewhere. If you don’t, and you’re serious about your writing, download a copy or pick one up asap. I can’t stress enough how helpful this book is, it’s like a writer’s best friend.

It is broken down into five sections: Elementary Rules of Usage. Question about whether to use the ’s on a possessive singular noun? It’ll make things clear. Do not join independent clauses by a comma. Use the proper case of the pronoun. On and on this section goes for those days when you’re sitting stumped about using a dash to set off an abrupt break or interruption.

Section Two is Elementary Principles of Composition such as choose a design and stick to it. Using the active versus the passive voice. How to place the emphatic words of a sentence, so that it has the most impact. Here, I found the meat of a writer’s trade. We’re always looking for advice for how to begin, what rules to follow, and how to bring things alive for our reader. It’s in here. And more.

While section Three gives of A Few Matters of Form, section Four hits on Words and Expressions Commonly Used. It is Section Five that I loved the most however. It’s about an Approach to Style. Those of you starting out might want to peruse this to learn about your Voice and how to find it, practice it, and refine it. It shows you how to place yourself in your writing. And that is a value to learn to make you more attractive to an agent and editor. The book says an aging practitioner once remarked, “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” I think we need to know all the bases before we can truly explore and break the rules.

For instance, I don’t like to end a sentence with a preposition. I’ve been taught that was wrong, but this book explains that not only is it acceptable but sometimes it is in a more effective spot than anywhere else in the sentence. I. E. “A claw hammer, not an axe, was the tool he murdered her with.”

This is one little book that’s going on my desk for quick reference. I’ve had it here before, of course, but it’s been many years since I’ve cracked its page. I will now, when the moment strikes for clarity. I hope you open it to find your own nuggets, it’s truly a treasure to behold, and deserves a high place on any writer’s list.

Posted in a bit of seriousness, writers, Writing and Poetry

Cover of "Webster's New World Guide to Pu...
Cover via Amazon


Book Review: Webster’s New World Guide to Punctuation

Traci Kenworth


Simon & Schuster                         by Auriel Douglas and Michael Strumpf


Hook line: All the rules you need to know to punctuate correctly.


Okay, so this is an older book obviously but I’ve been going through craft books lately, trying to study, study, study and this one is a desk keeper. It told me names of things I couldn’t define. For example:


The Virgule: From Latin, virgule, meaning little rod. The virgule, or slash mark, is a slanting line (/) used to mark the division of words or lines. I. E. and/or.

The Ampersand: Alteration of and per se and. The sign & is used to represent the word and.

Diacritical remarks: Adjective from Greel. Diakritikos, to distinguish. Encountered primarily in foreign languages. I.E. Éclat. (Thankfully, I’ve found the computer usually automatically makes the marks needed as I can’t figure out where the buttons for them are on my keypad. Lol.)


This is not to say that I didn’t know of the 3 above, obviously I’ve used them, but I didn’t know their names and in some cases other instances of their use. I found the overall guide to be fabulous in explaining the details behind things. I got fairly decent grades, A & B’s in English but the more I delve into the writer’s world, the more I see, I needed to dust out the old books and refresh my memory. We all know punctuation is important in our line of work and I’m sure I have no need to confront you with that truth: simply put, if we want to become better writers than we need to constantly go over our craft. This book is an excellent example of how to make our writing clearer, to make sure that it soars.

It will help get your book off the shelves at sale time if your writing is punctuated properly. Would you want to struggle through reading someone’s words, or hitch yourself to a kite that takes you exploring new worlds on the turn of a single phrase? I used to think I knew a fair amount of English to get me through, but the truth is I’ve forgotten some of the rules and the refresher course can only help me out in the long run. So, one thing’s for sure, I’ll continue exploring non-fiction as well as fiction on my course to publication. After all, I’m sure you’ve all heard it said: you have to know the rules before you can break them.

Have you chosen to go through old grammar books? Are you studying your craft? Everything we do in the way of research is improvement on the path ahead.





Posted in a bit of seriousness, humor & fun, Muse, writers, Writing and Poetry

How I get Myself Unstuck from a Scene…

Promotional image of Laura Vandervoort as Kara...
Image via Wikipedia

How I get Myself Unstuck from a Scene

Traci Kenworth


I’ve come up against walls more than a few times when it comes to scenes. There’s a recent one when I needed a character to have certain powers—I just couldn’t figure out what those would be, so I procrastinated about it for days until the answer worked itself out. This is not to say I avoided the scene all together for those days. I worked on this and that of it, chipping away at what I had, until finally a gem formed.

How did I figure it out? Well, I researched different powers. Well, not in the way I could say, “Hey, I’ll give her Supergirl’s powers.” No, I thought about the different elements, what related to her character, where I planned to go from here with her. And slowly, the answers came. And better than expected. Cryogencis. Lava. Avalanches. All these and more were investigated in the hope something would spark.

Another time, I had to introduce a character who has visions of certain events in my book. He was cursed with this by another character. I struggled with whether to write what he witnessed as first person or third. It didn’t quite work out with first as the story is told in first person to begin with and became too confusing for my cps, so I switched it to third and now it is sailing along. The reason behind this being, he has to “see” events through another character’s eyes. He can’t speak for them, he can only observe them.

So you see, there is a way to work through your difficulties. It just takes a new approach. Like I did with my latest book I’m editing. I totally changed the storyline for the female lead in the revisions from passive/sidelines to proactive, kickbutt heroine and it worked. She is now one of the most interesting characters I’ve written. All because I ran into a wall. Sometimes those blockages are good in terms of the story. They force you to work harder, to challenge yourself more.

Any tips you know on how to scale those walls? Doesn’t your story prove stronger/better for it? I think it’s really the Muse telling us to hold up, let’s look at thing from all angles, and then surprising us with its brilliance. So what has your Muse blocked for you lately?