Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Links, traditional, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

The Thing About Genre… Traci Kenworth


The Thing About Genre is…

Traci Kenworth

The thing about genre is that you’re not limited to one, but it helps to remain focused on one for at least three books before you switch to another. I hope to be able to concentrate on two in the future: my Traci Kenworth as a young adult author and my Loleta Abi as a romance author. Concentrating on three at a time at first, helps an agent to place your work better and gets your brand known for that genre.

If you’re bouncing all over the place, it doesn’t give readers the feel that you’re committed to that area until they come to know your work better. It’s like anything: practice makes perfect or in this case, better seen. Now, I have seen Indie authors make this work opposite, where they write what they want but if you want to go traditional, think branding.

I know a lot of authors are slanted either way: Indie or traditional. My preference is traditional, but I may go hybrid later on, who knows? I hear romance does really strong in that category Indie-wise. I had thought to go more Indie for a while, but my thinking has swung around to traditional. Mostly for the brand recognition. I think they have a better way of getting you into the places you want to be than Indie does.

Now, I’ve heard that some big Author Indies can open doors others can’t but remember that Colleen Hoover and several other Indie authors swung around to traditional after going Indie because it helped strengthen their brand and let’s face it, it’s where the money is. Unless you’re someone like James Scott Bell, a traditionally grounded author, who successfully transferred to Indie but again, his branding was already established I think where he can count on his fans buying his work in higher numbers.

Whichever way you go, have fun with it. Get in there, dig, and explore your genre. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to take risks. To try twists not invented yet. But I strongly caution, to learn the genre first. Training ground has a reason. It’s for us to be like Bambi on that ice. Fall but get back up. Make mistakes. That’s how we learn.

So, there you have it. The thing about genre is to love the one that you choose and run with it. Until you’re ready to go beyond and try another. Or stay put and expand the genre the way you want to go. None of the greats would be the greats if they hadn’t taken chances. Be confident. Be creative. Love what you do. If the genre doesn’t work for you, move on. It’s never too late to take that next step. Good luck and have a great week! God bless!

Happenings:

Covid is at last, behind me, but I’m having extreme pain in my legs and they are ice-cold in the mornings. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment to see about them next week. I have arthritis already but this just feels so, so painful. I know in my family, legs have been a weak area. My brother had to have operations on his. And my father, toward the end of his life, couldn’t let his legs be touched even in passing by a toddler without writhing in absolute pain. I’ve had to go back to my cane to support me while about right now. I’m very tempted to use those carts you drive at the bigger stores. I know I need to get some exercise in though, regardless, so I’m trying to keep going. How’s your week going?

Some posts about the web you might like:

  1. Smorgasboard Magazine https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/10/21/smorgasbord-bookshelf-new-book-on-the-shelves-fantasy-the-midnight-rambler-the-hat-book-6-c-s-boyack/ Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine he will die. The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make. As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill equipped to handle. Join Lizzie… This is one I’m looking forward to snagging asap.
  2. Writers in the Storm https://writersinthestormblog.com/2022/10/7-ways-to-increase-your-creativity-through-workspace-design/ The life of a writer can be unpredictable. Family, medical issues, housing issues, and many more personal-life interruptions can disrupt the flow of words. Many of you may not have options and write when and where you can write. For example, right now I’m writing in the waiting room of a car maintenance shop. The environment here is nice but definitely full of distractions. When we can choose our writing environment, it makes sense to choose a space that optimizes how we write. Keep in mind that not all of us will respond in the same way to the same physical space. In the list of elements I offer below, choose the ones that speak to you, and that feel more creative to you. Brain Science The theory that people are right-brained (creative, intuitive) or left-brained (logical or linear) or both is a popular myth unsupported by neuroscience. The brain’s right and left hemispheres are not separate organs. While the right hemisphere performs more complex functions, and the left hemisphere controls most (if not all) physiological functions, the two hemispheres work together. While the right- versus left-brain theory is a myth, it’s an easy way to understand how people think. At the extremes, a few of us are nearly 100% logical thinkers and a few are almost 100% creative thinkers. A few of us fall into the moves fluidly between the two. In a reality, we are all a mix of the two. Many of us continue to perceive one or the other thinking style as our primary way of perceiving the world. We’re not wrong, but it’s more complex than which hemisphere controls what. Still, we can use brain science and psychology to help us set up a work environment that supports our creativity.
  3. Syl’s 65 blog https://syl65.wordpress.com/2022/10/21/friday-inspiration-francesca-battistelli-the-breakup-song/ I LOVE this song!
  4. Writers Helping Writers https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/10/fear-thesaurus-entry-being-pitied/ 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 the 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.
  5. Roberta Writes https://roberta-writes.com/2022/10/21/roberta-writes-thursday-doors-riverstill-guest-farm/
  6. Charles French https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2022/10/21/favorite-horror-films-5-frankenstein/ The movie that I will discuss in this installment is Frankenstein.  This 1931 film was directed by James Whale and produced by Carl Laemelle, Jr. Universal Studios was following up its huge success with Dracula earlier in the year, so this film seemed like a natural choice to make. While the title and characters come from the 1818 Mary Shelley novel, it is a loose adaptation of the text.  Interestingly, the sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein, is a much more faithful treatment of the novel than this first film. This movie, one of the most important in horror film history, introduces Boris Karloff as the Creature. Karloff gives an impressive performance as the lost and lonely being who is unsure of who he is and his place in the world.  This sounds like so many teenagers and young people, and while frightening, Karloff also gathered empathy from viewers in his nuanced performance. Bela Lugosi had been offered the part of the creature but apparently turned it down because of its lack of speaking lines.  Lugosi made a terrible career choice because Karloff would supplant him after this film’s success as the top box office star and would continue to dominate Lugosi’s subsequent film career. I recall seeing this when I was very young. The movie of course, scared the daylights out of me but I was fascinated with it as well. I didn’t know the background behind the movie until now and that in itself is also fascinating.
  7. This is Horror https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-21-october-2022/ Out now from Dark Matter Inc, edited by Sadie Hartmann and Ashley Saywers, Human Monsters: A Horror Anthology Not all monsters are fantasy. Some are very real, and they walk among us. They’re our friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. They’re the people we’re supposed to trust…and they know it. Contained within this anthology are 35 never-before-published works by supremely talented authors and best-selling novelists. Brace yourself for the unexpected and unimaginable horror of … Human Monsters. Featuring stories by Linda D. Addison, Gemma Amor, Andrew Cull, Andy Davidson, Chad Lutzke, Catherine McCarthy, Josh Malerman, and many more you can pick up your copy in paperback and eBook formats now.
  8. Teagan’s Books https://teagansbooks.com/2022/10/22/spook-tober-shorts-surar-fiends-featuring-robbie-cheadle/ Hello everyone, and welcome back to Spook-tober Shorts.  A couple of weeks ago I introduced some new character-friends, the Pumpkin Hat Girls.  They’re back for some more Twilight Zone-ish fun. BASED ON COMMENTS, I REVISED THE STORY TO INCLUDE AN EPILOGUE. Haunted Halloween Holiday is a delightful story by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.  I mentioned it back on August 20.  When I found out about Robbie’s story, it reminded me that every year, I kept forgetting to do a Halloween story until it was too late.  So, I got busy writing A Peril in Ectoplasm.  My latest novella has nothing to do with Robbie’s new book.  Neither does the short story below, but it was inspired by her fun promo image and many of her fondant characters.  I’ve used her photos of some of them as illustrations for my story.
  9. Books and Such https://teripolen.com/2022/10/22/badmoonrising-house-of-sorrow-by-joan-hall-thriller-shortstory-suspense/ I share this author’s disappointment in ghost tours – we’ve yet to see a ghost. Seems like it’s something that should be guaranteed on that kind of tour, right? The Legends and Lore posts on her blog feature jaw-dropping and uncanny mysteries/legends – I highly recommend you check them out. Furry friends have been stealing the spotlight this month, and she brings a couple of cuties with her today. Welcome, Joan Hall! Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most? Can I cheat a bit by mentioning another type of unsolved mystery? The story of D. B. Cooper has always intrigued me. He hijacked a commercial airliner in 1971, demanded 200K in ransom money, then parachuted out of the plane somewhere over the Pacific Northwest. A portion of the ransom money was found years later, but there’s been no sign of the man (living or dead). Specific to a murder, it would have to be the story of Lizzie Borden. Did she really give her mother forty whacks, then gave her father forty-one?
  10. Stream of Consciousness https://johnwhowell.com/2022/10/22/stream-of-consciousness-saturday-prompt-bowl/ The coffee machine has a mind of its own today. While waiting for the life-saving potion, a bowl of store-brand raisin bran crunch is making a poor substitute. Before long, the machine decides a strike might not produce the best result and coughs up the brew. Abandoning the bowl in favor of the mug, a sip reminds me that today is a safe blow-up day. The security system is already down, and Wile E Coyote is busy in the backyard placing packages around the perimeter of the safe. Joining him and seeing he is using ACME C4 charges. All wired to a plunger, and Wile slowly walks away from the safe with it in his hand. He is allowing the wire to slip from the coil around his arm. “Everything okay?” My question catches Wile by surprise. “Of course,” he says. “Where’s Yosemite Sam?” Wile pulls on his chin for a mini-second and responds. “I locked him inside the safe.” The statement causes my eyebrows to join my hairline. “Is he safe in the safe?” My hand immediately goes to my mouth but too late cause that awful question is already out there.” Wile rolls his eyes. “He’s a lot safer in there than we are out here.” Another statement that threatens to send my eyebrows over the top of my head. It is clear that Wile is about to push the plunger as he gets down on one knee and yells, “Fire in the hole.” “Just a minute.” The words hit Wile like a baseball headed for an infield double. He rises and walks to meet me. “Let me explain,” he drawls. For the first time, his Texas accent comes to prominence. Must happen when he is angry, my brain tells me.” Look, friend.” He pauses, then continues. “You and I have a contract, and how this goes down is entirely up to me to execute. Why did you stop me?” Lol.
  11. Chris the Story Reading Ape https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/10/23/meet-guest-editor-and-author-alison-williams/ Thanks so much to Chris for this opportunity to tell you about myself and my editing services. I have been providing services for authors since 2016 and have worked on more than five hundred projects in a wide variety of genres. I have a first degree in English Language and Literature and trained as a journalist. I have worked as a freelance writer and have been published in print and online. I completed a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and my journey into editing began when I was asked by fellow students to edit their work. I found that it was something I greatly enjoyed and that I have a knack for spotting issues that often writers are too close to their work to see. I have been very lucky in working with some wonderful writers, many of whom ask me to edit subsequent books. It is lovely to see how the advice I give them shapes their later writing and to see their writing craft go from strength to strength. It is always the biggest compliment when authors get in touch because I have been recommended by other authors. The publishing world is changing all the time. It is becoming harder and harder to break into the world of traditional publishing. A polished manuscript is essential when approaching agents. And if, as many authors have done, you decide to pursue your own writing journey through self-publishing, then it is even more essential to make sure that the work you put out there is the best it can possibly be.
  12. Charles French https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2022/10/22/my-favorite-horror-films-6-the-bride-of-frankenstein/ The next installment in this series is what I consider to be one of the very best horror films ever made: The Bride of Frankenstein. I also want to mention that I have taught this novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus several times at both Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, and the Department of Graduate and Continuing Education at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. It is also interesting that the sequel The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) to Universal Studio’s Frankenstein  (1931) is a far better film and a more faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic novel than the original movie. James Whale directed and Carl Laemmle Jr. produced this film. This is one of my favorites as well. I can remember sitting and watching Scream Theater with my friends back on a Saturday when this was on. The bride’s rejection of the groom was brutal and instantaneous and the repercussions to follow horrific.
  13. Annette Rochelle Aben https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2022/10/23/angel-messages-oct-23-2022/
  14. Smorgasboard Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/10/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-poetry-dorothy-cronin-1949-2006-tuffy-a-much-loved-family-pet/
Posted in a bit of seriousness, Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge, Family life, Uncategorized, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Beauty and the Person by Traci Kenworth


Beauty and the Person

Traci Kenworth

Beauty touches every human being whether we realize it or not. Oh, not the makeup but the part of us that shines within our souls. There, we’re all unique. Growing up, I spent a lot of time running from who I was. I was convinced if I could just find the right concealer, the right lipstick everything in my life would change. Nowadays, I don’t usually wear much makeup. Instead, I hope that who I am emerges through it all.

Pieces of the same girl remain but not the whole. I’ve lost fragments here and there. Everybody does. It doesn’t matter if you have freckles, braces, or a big lump on your face. You’re still you. Still loveable. It took me a long while to realize this, to believe it. They’re right when they say that some people’s heart blares through in opportunities presented to them. Those are the real heroes. The ones that can reach out to the hurting, the vulnerable.

The essence of who we are, what we’re willing to give to make ours and others lives better begins to develop when we’re just a small child. We learn certain responses get us rewards. It’s not until we break free from what’s expected of us however, that we truly develop our individuality. Who we’ll become is important because when it’s all said and done, what you make of yourself inside that soul is what counts.

We want people to be proud of us. Sometimes, that happens easily. More often, it takes work. Even a person so far gone from the grid can turn their lives around. It might take a lot of time and more road than we have, but you can get there. I’m not proud of all the decisions I made in my life, but I stand by who I am and the two children I raised. They gave me a better future because they made me fight to find that truth, that hope inside myself.

Just the other day, I saw the truly awfulness we can be inside an old lady at the store when she thought I’d cut in front of her in line. I’d been waiting over twenty minutes for my meds, and they called me. She considered me a bastard among other things, shaking her fist and flipping me off without even letting me explain. I have never been confronted by an older person like that before. Oh, I’ve seen mean, yes but not such hatred. I don’t know why it was there, only that it shocked me. And that she could get others behind her in a place that wasn’t even the line to attack me as well, I just know that that isn’t how I want to live.

All pruned up and ready to assault another person because I think they’ve offended me. I was in the process of having my order stapled up when she started her rant, and I heard them call for security. I took my order and headed out, wishing her a good day. It was hard to say that after everything she’d said to me. It reminded me of my past and other times I’ve run up on such cruelty. You never see it coming. It’s like kicking a dog. That poor animal doesn’t even realize what they’ve done to harm you. They don’t get it. Don’t live like that, please. It’s not good for anybody. Least of all, yourself.

Put your good into everything you do. It’ll win you peace. Not to mention, less wrinkles. Why are we so concerned with the outside of our person when it’s the inside that houses who we are? We store our love there to be showered on others. We hold on to the wisdom we’ve learned, the fun we were offered. Life is meant to share there not bottle it up. When we stop giving a piece of ourselves to those around us, we start to die, I think.

We’re not meant to be hermits, left to our own devices. That’s what makes me so sad when elderly people are shut off from their loved ones later in life. We all need each other to stay alive, to hope, to find a reason to go on. It’s easy to give up when you think no one cares any longer. There’s nothing to bring you back. Don’t exclude anybody from gatherings if you can help it. You just might change a life, open their heart. They might’ve been kept from others for so long they forgot what it was like. How to participate.

That goes for younger participants as well. You never know what teenager is isolated and needs to be drawn back into the fold, to feel someone cares. They might be getting less and less from the emotional stage of their time in school, in sports, whatever. A job they took might not be working out. Dreams they have might’ve been put on hold for financial reasons. Find a way to make them believe again, to make them soar.

It’ll come back to you tenfold. All this time we’re here on Earth could be used for something better. To help others. To bring them back to life, to spark their dreams again. It’s never too late for anyone. It just takes a helping hand. That reaching out and bringing things back to the beauty and person inside themselves. We’ve all got a reason for being a reason to go on. It’s in that face next to you, in that hand you hold. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Live. Rejoice. And let those dreams grow. You won’t regret it, and neither will they.

Some products that you might like. I may receive a small compensation from the seller.

Some blog posts you might like:

Enjoy your Labor Day, everyone! God bless!
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 Links, MG & YA, traditional, Uncategorized, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

When Do You Make Yourself Happy? by Traci Kenworth


When Do You Choose What Makes You Happy?

Traci Kenworth

Our lives are built around doing things for others. When do you choose what’s right for you? When do you choose what makes you happy? I hear you. Kids. The spouse. Your boss at work. Friends. They all pull us in different directions. And I get that they’re important. That you love them with all your heart. That’s great. That’s good.

We spend so much time doing for others, we sometimes forget our own priorities. And I’m not saying family, friends, or work aren’t a priority. The truth of the matter is, if you continue to let dreams crumble, one day they’ll be no more. We need to take a step back here and there to see what we’d like to do with our goals/our futures.

I’ve written since I was little but had no idea that that’s what I wanted to do with my life till after I left college. To me, words were something sacred, something that wouldn’t be practical for my life. Don’t all those guidance tests tell us that? Or at least, the guidance counselor? Choose something else. That was hammered in me from those days.

So, I did. Nothing worked out for me. I struggled to find a job that interested me. They were all boring. Or a necessity. But you know, I came to realize that’s what the draw to writing was about. It wasn’t boring. In fact, it was damn exciting. It thrummed through my veins as soon as I put my fingers to the keyboard or picked up a pen.

I stopped fighting what others told me was impossible. In a lot of areas of my life. Today, I’m so glad that I didn’t give up. I wouldn’t have kids. I wouldn’t have a good life. And starting this journey again would be so much harder. My health, admittedly, is something I still have to consider. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m taking strides further.

By the way, if you see someone you used to know from wherever, don’t assume things about them without knowing their health. I’ve had classmates from school and old neighbors assume my weight problems were due to pregnancy. The truth was far from that. I didn’t gain this weight till I ended up in the hospital and then they jerked me from medicine to medicine trying to solve my problems.

There comes a time when you have to realize that if something makes you happy, do more of it. Writing is the elixir of my life. I need it to feel accomplished in my day. No matter if I ever reach the goals I wish, I will keep going, keep fighting. Because to not do so, doesn’t give me anything to shoot for.

It might not seem like much to you, but for me, it’s more than enough. It’s a hope that I haven’t always had a lot of in my life. It’s a strength that builds my day. Who knows how long we have left in this existence? I don’t want to waste another minute. No matter what happens, I will always keep stringing words together. Hoping. Smiling. Keeping the faith. Have a great week, everyone.

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  1. Empowered Women Empower Women https://amzn.to/3QT2Xks
  2. Inspirational Gifts for Women https://amzn.to/39VpNYd
  3. The True Measure of a Man https://amzn.to/3OIx7pr

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  1. The Killzone https://killzoneblog.com/2022/06/tips-to-deceive-characters-and-readers.html

Fictional truth is never quite as clear as it seems on the surface. Deceptiveness boils down to manipulation, disguise, and misdirection. The writer can deceive characters and readers in numerous ways.

A villain might murder another character, then lie to avoid detection. This leads to more lies, more misdirection, and deepening deceptions, creating tension and conflict.

What if the main character lies to themselves about who they are or their current circumstances? Because the truth may be too difficult to accept, the charade continues. One of the most widely known examples is The Sixth Sense.

2. Writer’s Helping Writer’s https://writershelpingwriters.net/2022/06/3-design-secrets-for-captivating-book-ads/ With so many books in the world and ads on every platform imaginable, social media can often feel like screaming into a void. In order to get any traction, you need ad design that gets noticed by your ideal reader or target audience. Following these 3 tips will give you a bit of a secret sauce foundation for capturing those clicks.

3. Middle Grade Mojo https://middlegrademojo.com/2022/06/28/mg-summer-reading-5-fun-cinderella-retellings/

Who can resist a fun retelling of a classic fairytale? Having some knowledge of the backstory allows the reader to get invested in the story quickly. Today’s guest post is a fairytale specialist—Leah Cypess is the author of the SISTERS EVER AFTER series and shares some of her favorite retellings of Cinderella.

Leah Cypess: While writing GLASS SLIPPERS, I avoided reading other retellings of Cinderella. But now that GLASS SLIPPERS is out in the world, I was able to revisit some old favorites — and discover some new ones — to recommend to any middle grade readers who are looking for more takes on Cinderella! Here are my 5 favorites:

  1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I know, I know! It’s so obvious it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. But it’s so good that it has to be mentioned. (And don’t just take my word for it — the Newbery Committee thought so too!) The story of a girl named Ella who is “blessed” with the gift of obedience, this retelling is inventive, enthralling, and thoroughly magical. (And if you’ve watched the movie — go read the book anyhow. Seriously. They are barely telling the same story.)
  2. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George. This book is the second in a series, and I highly recommend starting with the first, Princess of the Midnight Ball (a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses). With that said, if for some reason you must, you can also read Princess of Glass as a stand-alone. This book is actually about a different princess at that famous ball, thus setting it up for a series of fascinating and fairy-tale-bending twists. It’s a sweet and fast-paced entry in George’s fabulous Princess trilogy.

4. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/06/29/too-many-windows/

I generally only have one or two windows open at a time. Recently, it’s gotten kind of crazy. I’m working on two manuscripts at once, so when I find something interesting or informative, I currently leave that window open. Beats adding a bunch of bookmarks when I only need them temporarily.

Let’s take a look at them, just for a laugh.

Entertaining Stories – you are here.

Facts about Potassium Iodide – used for radiation poisoning

Google window -for saltwater taffy

Recipe – for saltwater taffy – vehicle for Potassium Iodide

Google translate – for English to Spanish

5. The Write Stuff https://marciamearawrites.com/2022/06/30/thorsdaysmile-humor-amlaughing-11/ Are you ready for a few smiles this morning? Thor thinks you are, so let’s get right to it! Here is a bit of a mixed bag for you, and I hope you find a couple of things you enjoy!

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 blogs, horror, Links, traditional, YA

Book Review: The Girl From the Well Rin Chupeco by Traci Kenworth


Bookcover

Book Review: The Girl From the Well Rin Chupeco by Traci Kenworth

Book Blurb: “[A] Stephen Kinglike horror story…A chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates.”― Kirkus

From the highly acclaimed author of the Bone Witch trilogy comes a chilling story of a Japanese ghost looking for vengeance and the boy who has no choice but to trust her, lauded as a “a fantastically creepy story sure to keep readers up at night” (RT Book Reviews)

I am where dead children go.

Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they’re due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring Okiku peace. Still, she drifts on.

Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writhes beneath the moody teen’s skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, Okiku knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There’s just one problem:  if the demon dies, so does its host.

Suspenseful and creepy, The Girl from the Well is perfect for readers looking for

  • Spooky books for young adults
  • Japanese horror novels
  • Ghost stories for teens
  • East Asian folklore

Praise for The Girl from the Well

“There’s a superior creep factor that is pervasive in every lyrical word of Chupeco’s debut, and it’s perfect for teens who enjoy traditional horror movies…the story is solidly scary and well worth the read.” ― Booklist

“Chupeco makes a powerful debut with this unsettling ghost story…told in a marvelously disjointed fashion from Okiku’s numbers-obsessed point of view, this story unfolds with creepy imagery and an intimate appreciation for Japanese horror, myth, and legend.” ― Publishers Weekly STARRED review

“It hit all the right horror notes with me, and I absolutely recommend it to fans looking for a good scare. ” ― The Book Smugglers

My Review: The book opens with a serial killer snatching a young Tark. His cousin joins the search for him. When she discovers his location and frantically tries to get him away, she discovers that Tark is not alone. Something haunts him. A young girl who saves both their lives in her vengeance for victims that’ve gone before.

The cousin watches Tark in the months that follow worried over the presence within him. She doesn’t realize that an even darker force rules the boy due to his mother. Okiku, the ghost, is determined to keep Tark save from the same. When Tark’s father invites the cousin to Japan where his mother was from to delve into the sickness that has grown in the boy, she jumps at the chance to keep him safe.

Okiku begins to reveal to the cousin her past in Japan as they journey along to the mountain village Tark’s mother is from. Once there, they learn secrets about Tark’s mother, what she was trying to do, and what must be done to save him if possible. Because there’s a curse deeper than the one his mother cast on him, one that could cause Tark to die.

Thoughts: This was a decent horror read. I had a bit of trouble getting into the book because of all that I didn’t know about the Japanese culture. At times, it did distract me from the story. I liked when they arrived in Japan versus the American part better. Learning about Okiku was interesting. Also, diving into Tark’s mother’s history.

I think I liked the Japan part of the story because it seemed more grounded, more relevant. While in America, the background wasn’t as well drawn in and therefore, harder to get into. This won’t stop me from reading the sequel, however.


         I have other book reviews to deliver next as part of my getting back into things. At some point however, I do have to go in for a more complicated surgery and I’m not sure how that will play out as far as recovery. I plan to get back to two books by Indie authors that I owe a review for asap. In the meantime, the Netgalley ones have to be gotten through as I go along to keep with their time schedules. This happened to be a Netgalley one. The opinions are my own given in exchange for a free review copy.

Here are some products you may like. I do receive a small compensation from the site for posting them.

  1. The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco https://amzn.to/3uNfQ5B
  2. The Shadow and the Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo https://amzn.to/3K01lSa Highly recommend!
  3. The Cursebreaker Series by Brigid Kemmerer https://amzn.to/3IVlGXG Another highly recommend!
  4. The Caravel Series by Stephanie Garber https://amzn.to/3DsZjaJ Still another highly recommended!
  5. The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger https://amzn.to/3wRz5O3 A classic!

Below are some links you may enjoy:

  1. The Indie Spot https://beemweeks.wordpress.com/2022/04/02/the-hat-is-humorous-and-original/

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon. Craig’s work is always worth a read!

2. Entertaining Stories https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2022/04/02/word-count-and-future-ideas/

I closed my iPad, then leaned back in my lounge chair. “That’s a wrap for today, folks.”

Lisa Burton, my robot assistant picked the twin ponytails from her hair. “Back to more Cicis tomorrow?”

“Probably.”

“You really need to get these girls some better clothes.”

“I did, but they tend to wear jumpsuits while they’re on the ship. We’re deep into the mission right now.”

Percy, the Space Chimp, perked up. “Not bad, dude. I’m finally in the shuttle and weapons are hot. I’m expecting to kick some major ass tomorrow.”

“Me, too. We’re nearly finished. You have two adventures left in this book and I should easily break eighty-thousand words.”

3. Word Craft Poetry https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2022/04/02/shareyourday/#comment-113240

Okay, I’ve finally found a theme that works for me. Whew! WP definitely upgraded the editor again, because everything looks different in the post template. I also had to change my browser to Chrome. Not my favorite, but everything seems to be working on WP. Fingers Crossed!! Many thanks to David for his theme inspiration… the Libre2 theme is working. 🙏🏻 🌸

This week for #TankaTuesday, I’m sharing the spot where I do all my writing and creating. Sophie spends the day (and nights) with me most of the time. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m still in my jammies as it’s been another wintry day here in Michigan. I’m looking forward to spring!

4. Kill Zone Blog https://killzoneblog.com/2022/04/up-front-money.html

Not long ago, (but before the lockdown) I was invited to speak at a library down in Mason, just west of San Antonio. That little south Texas town was where Fred Gipson lived, one of my favorite authors who wrote Old Yeller and Savage Sam.

They put me up in a quaint old hotel down there in the hill country, overlooking the town square that wasn’t much more than an intersection of two lane roads. It was one of those little perks I enjoy as an author. I spoke that night and signed my latest novel, then retired to the balcony and sipped a gin and tonic under the stars, thinking about an elderly woman who came to me after the talk, asking if I could help her with a problem.

I’d signed my last book and was getting ready to leave when she took a chair beside me. “You’re a famous author.” She spoke with a German accent, which isn’t unusual in that part of the Lone Star State. The German-Texan culture began here in 1831, five years before the Alamo fell, and significantly increased after the close of the Civil War. It’s estimated that over 40,000 emigrants moved to Texas by the close of the nineteenth century.

“No ma’am. I’m far from famous, just a pretty good writer who entertains people.”

“Well, you surely have an agent.” A note to anyone thinking of publishing. Read this!

5. Smorgasbord Blog Magazine https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/04/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-memories-music-and-movies-1993-40th-mr2-m-people-mrs-doubtfire/

It is 1993 and in the February I hit the big 40. At the beginning of the year, I looked at my wish list as most of us do before hitting a milestone birthday. One of my top ‘things to do before I am 40’ was to own a racy little number.

As a teenager I had a number of boyfriends who owned sports cars. Whilst they may have anticipated something a little different when I suggested that we adjourn to the car park at Clarence Parade after a date, they were disappointed. I only wanted their car keys! I had spent many a happy hour in a Triumph Spitfire or a later model TR4 doing circuits of the car park.

I did not get my official driving licence until 1980 and had driven for both work and pleasure in the intervening years. We had enjoyed many road trips when living in Texas including across from Houston to New Mexico, a distance of 650 miles without stopping except for gas.

Posted in blogs, Craft, Links, Links, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Pimples That Invade Our Writing by Traci Kenworth


The Pimples That Invade Writing

Traci Kenworth

Pimples can ruin your day. I remember many a day gazing into the mirror, seeing that horrible red invader. It always showed up in the midst of a big event. Prom. A date. The day of your wedding. Always inconvenient. Always hideous. You just wanted to crawl back under the covers and avoid anyone you knew seeing you.

The real you. This is what happened when life just went south. Any other day, things would be fine. Your skin would be close to flawless. You’d be ready to take on the day. Everything just seemed to work out the way it was supposed to. And then, once again, those pimples would show up when you least expected it. It’s the same with writing.

You’re working along, whether by longhand or key, and you stumble into a crater that destroys your train of thought. What to do? Go around or go through. Choosing to go around could interrupt everything. Pushing through might lead you to a new discovery. Whatever path you follow, you learn to deal with both the rough stuff and the easy.

After all, doesn’t that mirror life? You don’t always have good days. Nor do you always have bad ones. It’s a mixture of both. The ups and downs of the plot points in your story run the same. If characters always had a smooth ride, they’d never get off. Leaving town, getting to know the stranger out on the road, could bring great things for that character.

Red blotches make us suffer humility at times. Even the prettiest girl in high school got them. Lots of cover-up and powder followed those days. However, when it comes to the page, seeing those zits as a growth opportunity for your characters is the way to go. Everyone has problems. Young and old. How we handle them is all different.

Some hide them, some pull them out to get everything out in the open. It depends on the personality of the character. It’s why some run into adventures and others burrow into their hobbit hole. No two characters are alike. That’s what makes the story beat with excitement. It brings our characters to life for the reader. They’re interested in the characters’ reactions as well as the story at hand.

Flaws build character. No one is perfect. And if they were, readers wouldn’t identify with them. They want to share the struggles; feel the emotions your characters go through. A flat, emotionless character might sound like a good experimental character but in reality, readers aren’t going to attach themselves to that type of personality. Again, they want to be part of the journey. When Frodo reaches Mt. Doom to destroy the ring, they want to be right there with him, cheering him on.

The pimples that invade our writing might look ugly at first but if we let them, they can teach us lessons about what’s missing in our characters. Giving them problems helps make them more identifiable. That leads to better writing.

1. Great for kitties black acne under their chin! https://amzn.to/3INMx8N Went to vet recently and discovered cats get black acne under their chin. The vet recommended Benzoyl Peroxide. Just a dab. Be careful if you have a black couch, the med could dye it.
2. Something for those pesky pimples. https://amzn.to/3HRweGt 
3. A beauty of a journal to keep those notes in! https://amzn.to/3hJQCPu

I may recieve a small compensation for any of the products listed above.

Links you may enjoy!
  1. James Scott Bell on Killzone: https://killzoneblog.com/2022/03/its-crucial-to-know-who-you-are-as-a-writer.html

Have you heard about what Brandon Freaking Sanderson is doing? As they used to say in the 60s, “It’ll blow your mind, man.”

Last Tuesday Sanderson made a “surprise announcement” via YouTube, telling his fans that over the course of the last two years he has produced four—count ’em, four—“secret” novels. Instead of releasing these books through a traditional publisher, Sanderson is running a Kickstarter campaign to sell directly to his readers. The books will be delivered each quarter in 2023. And not just books. At certain levels supporters receive a box of Sanderson swag in each of the other eight months.

When you run a Kickstarter, you choose a minimum goal for your campaign. If you don’t hit it, the pledges aren’t collected. Sanderson set his goal at $1 million.

2. Syl65’s blog for the wonderful poet Sylvester: https://syl65.wordpress.com/2022/03/06/spiritualsunday-8/ Spiritual Sunday

3. Fictional Favorites by John Howell: https://johnwhowell.com/2022/03/05/stream-of-consciousness-saturday-prompt-way-to-go/

Drumming my fingers on the counter, waiting for the orchestrated process that manufacturers a cup of coffee to be complete, the memory synapses kick in before caffeine. That darned bunny was the message relayed to the heart, lungs, stomach, and legs. Mercifully the machine finally delivered the soothing syrup designed to smooth out the peaks and valleys of an overrevved reaction to the torturous memory interruption. “Way to go,” I whispered to the hot, steaming mug of dark frothy deliciousness.

In a more stable condition, the realization that the front door needs to be addressed sets in. Since there is no clue of anything on the Ring doorbell camera, there is only one way to determine if the grey carrot munching talking cartoon of a rabbit is gone. My prayer goes up that he is indeed somewhere else. The door is flung open.

“What’s up, Doc?”

4. Smorgasbord Blog Magazine with Sally Cronin: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2022/03/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-memories-music-and-movies-1986-halleys-comet-hawaii-magnum-pi-top-gun-by-sally-cronin/

In celebration of our time in America and the wonderful people we met and still are in touch with, here is our second year living in Houston and some of the adventures we enjoyed. We actually ended up visiting all the East and West Coast as well as driving across country.. On this trip we wanted to see the once in a lifetime visit of Halley’s comet.

It is now 1986 and we were very aware that we only had a year left of David’s contract in America and that we needed to step up our explorations. In that twelve months we visited the East and West coasts and made the epic road trip from Houston to New Mexico with a friend to try and glimpse Halley’s Comet: Wikipedia

5. Chris the Story Reading Ape: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2022/03/06/crave-rejection-7-never-fail-100-guaranteed-tips-for-raising-your-r-score-by-ruth-harris/

Are you embarrassed by your pathetic R-quotient?

Do other writers sneer at your R-score?

Has your pile of rejection letters stalled out?

Have your R-levels been diagnosed as too low?

Has too much time gone by since your last rejection?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you must take immediate action.

Here’s some advice for those who feel they are missing out on one of the basic building blocks of a successful author’s career: Rejection.

For those who feel they are not paying their dues.

For every writer who is not receiving an adequate, soul-satisfying number of rejections, try these pro tips to help you pump up your pathetic, wimpy R-score.

Where the Genres Collide March 6 2022 at http://www.tracikenworth.com

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 a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

The Beauty of Writing by Traci Kenworth


The Beauty of Writing

Traci Kenworth

I was probably twelve or thirteen when I began using makeup. Eye shadow. Liner. Rouge. Lipstick. Any and all of it. I wished in later years, that I’d taken it slower like my one friend in high school whose parents only allowed her lipstick for many years. Of course, I found out from another friend that she ditched that restriction when it came to parties and hanging out with friends. I just thought maybe less was more as I got older.

I guess that’s how we all start off with writing as well. Experimenting to see what worked best. Sometimes, certain words didn’t work at all. I thought you had to be distant from the piece but as time advanced, I learned how close you really want to be with your reader. Almost as if you could whisper to them, “Here, I have a tale I want to tell you about.” That’s what draws them in. It’s what gets them to share the character’s journey.

Truth be told, I’d rather spend time reading the majority of the time. Unfortunately, things continue to get in my way of such and I have to really work to enjoy stories nowadays. There’s something about sitting down, focusing on that character that’s magical. Like the first time you look into the mirror with makeup on and find someone you don’t quite recognize. It’s all about relating to that person you see. Listening to their secrets. Sharing the possibilities.

The tools of makeup bring out the canvas of one’s beauty just like those used for writing. When we begin a story, we have to learn how to contour things just right, so they enhance a scene, bring out the best in a character, or showcase the genre in question. The more we write, the more we learn. We could also say the same about reading. It should go hand in hand with our works. We need to learn what authors who’ve gone before us have done and improve on our own manuscripts with the things we discover. Of course, don’t copy their efforts. We grow by adapting and trying new ideas.

Imitating is fine at first, but you want to break out into your own path. Much like you want to tailor makeup to you, instead of following the trends and looking like every other face out there. There’s room for you in whatever you do. To shine, to explore, to rise to new heights. I’m not talking author intrusion. Still, you want the story to reflect what you want to say and how you want to say it. Don’t channel Anne Rice or Stephen King. Put a bit of you into the work. What do you believe? What matters to you? Show your characters searching for what they want or putting an end to the thing that could destroy their world.

As you age, you become less inclined to wear makeup. There just isn’t the time or anybody to impress. Still, a small amount can do wonders for your confidence. At least it does for me. I was a lonely girl looking for a way to fit in as a teenager. I didn’t quite make it until my senior year in high school. I opened up. Spoke my mind sometimes. And won new friends. When I think about those times, I realize it was training ground. Everyone at some time in their life experiences awkwardness. The best thing to do is to work through those times. Pick up your pen. Put your fingers to the keys. Write about tragedy, hope, and forgiveness. It heals the soul.

Where Genres Collide

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Five Links You Might Find Interesting:

. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2021/12/30/thursdaythoughts-the-year-to-come/ Syl65's Blog.com Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
2. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/12/30/smorgasbord-book-reviews-december-2021-round-up-contemporary-anne-goodwin-romance-jan-sikes-romance-staci-troilo-shortstories-mae-clair-thriller-jane-buckley/ Smorgasboard Blog Magazine.com Welcome to the last of the book reviews for 2021 with some wonderful books that I can highly recommend.

The first book I read in December was the thought provoking contemporary novel Matilda Wilson is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin.
3.  https://teripolen.com/2021/12/29/www-wednesday-what-am-i-reading-amreading-65/ Books and Such The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m literally starting Bright Ruined Things today, so I really can’t comment on it. It’s been on my NetGalley shelf for months, but I’m excited to finally get to it. The cover gives me a Great Gatsby feel.
4. https://conniejjasperson.com/2021/12/29/writing-drabbles-and-exploring-theme-amwriting/ Life in the Realm of Fantasy I think of writing as a muscle of sorts, working the way all other muscles do. Our bodies are healthiest when we exercise regularly, and with respect to our creativity, writing works the same way.

WritingCraft_short-story-drabbleDaily writing becomes easier once you make it a behavioral habit. The more frequently you write, the more confident you become. Spend a small amount of time writing every day and you will develop discipline.
5. https://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2021/12/traditional-publishing.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email The Blood-Red Pencil Although we now focus quite heavily on indie and self-publishing here at The Blood-Red Pencil, many of our early posts were geared towards helping authors navigate the traditional publishing gauntlet, from completed manuscript, to agent queries and pitches, to landing that much-coveted book deal with one of the large publishing houses.

 



Countdown to a Book

One of the most comprehensive series of posts we ran here was Kathryn Craft's seventeen-post epic account of her journey through the traditional publication process, starting with her realisation that she needed help long before she could even think about querying an agent.
Posted in Craft, Reading, Short stories, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Teen Topics to the Tune of Characters: Heartbreak Traci Kenworth


Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Teen Topics to the Tune of Characters: Heartbreak

Traci Kenworth

Can you imagine waited bated breath as your crush focused on his best friend, your current best female friend as well? The torture suffocated her. Oh, why couldn’t he look at her that way? She knew every angle to his face. Every deep lash that shaded those green eyes. The idea of him knowing something, anything intimate about her brought a grimace. All he saw was what every other person saw: chubbiness that rendered her all but invisible.

“Alan is going to be so all-over-himself at this one,” Scott said.

She hung on every word, rewarded with a blink when she lost her balance when he glanced her way. Darn. Why did she always spaz around him?

The female friend, Lenore drew his attention back to her with a snap of her gum. “That’s his problem. He gets too overwhelmed by a girl.”

“Not his problem. He just puts his bar to high.”

Lenore huffed. “Not with Arlene.”

“Well.” Scott shrugged.

It’s now or never.

“A hard one to figure,” she added.

Scott swung to her. He frowned. “What do you mean?”

She colored. “Just, anyone could see that one had a problem.”

“You may be right.”

“Of course, she’s right,” Lenore said.

She exchanged a grin with Lenore.

“Are you two saying you knew something was up with her? Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Like any of you would’ve listened,” Lenore retorted.

She gazed at Scott. “You mean, you didn’t notice?”

He shrugged. “Well.”

“Admit it.” Lenore nodded.

“Okay. She wasn’t the best apple in the bunch.”

“More like the meanest beehive ever set loose.”

She burst into laughter. Scott followed. They shared a grin. Her heart nearly paused. The only thing that saved her was Lenore’s gesture.

“Here, he comes.”

Alan always looked like his wheat-colored hair was caught in the wind. He surveyed each of them, a hint of suspicion in his gaze. “What’s up?”

Scott curled a hand over his mouth. “Betty Rocklin.”

He took a step back. “You heard?”

“That she put you through the meatgrinder in gym?”

“Damn. I never catch a break.”