Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, Writing and Poetry

Writerly Things 10/24/2020 Traci Kenworth


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Writerly Things 10/26/2020

Traci Kenworth

Update: The insurance denied our coverage for the damages done. I will be taking hiatus until further notice while we search for another place to live and pack up things.

Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Writerly Things 10/12/2020 Traci Kenworth


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Writerly Things 10/12/2020

Traci Kenworth

It’s back to the doctor’s today. My stomach is still bloated and painful. The meds my one doctor prescribed, another said not to take as it would interfere with a new one he gave me (for an unrelated condition) so I’m back to hurting. My other dr. couldn’t figure why he’d take me off but said I could take another med which I’m headed to his office to get the script for. Then I have to stop by the eye doctor’s as the glasses I went in for a week ago they forgot to take my card for so my former insurance said I wasn’t covered anymore. Ergh. So have to re-pick out some new frames. Sigh.

As for my house, still figuring things out. The adjuster said we weren’t covered then switched gears when I explained about the groundhogs so some of it might be covered. Wouldn’t you know it, he wants to come out when I’m due in doctor’s office. I’ll have to re-schedule for an evening as I have another dr. visit Wed. And tomorrow, have to pick up my daughter’s boyfriend to take him to work with my kids.

Have a great week, take care, and God bless.

Writing desk. Writing Journal. The Writer’s Toolbox.

Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, writers, Writing and Poetry

Writerly Things 10/5/2020 Traci Kenworth


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Writerly Things 10/5/2020: The Steamroll of Life

Traci Kenworth

Currently, I’m facing major repairs on my house. My main waterline has buckled and water is flooding my crawlspace. I’m in the process of getting estimates but it looks like everyone else in this area is as well as I’ve been repeatedly told places are swamped with business. Even the ones that’ve been out haven’t gotten around to estimates so I’m having to wait to pass along figures to the insurance adjuster. If they even help us out. If they don’t, we might have to look into other ways to finance or consider moving elsewhere.

This place has been a money pit for years. It started with a tornado a couple months after we first moved in and there’s been several storm year’s damages since as well as deterioration from the property itself. All I can do is wait and keep faith that God knows what he’s doing whether it’s to stay here until finances improve and we can get something better or to get repairs done and make the best of it. Or pack up altogether.

As far as rentals go, I’ve looked into some but they’ve already been taken. Guess everyone’s looking for a place right now. I know new homes are on the rise in these parts. Some older ones are selling but mostly, buyers want new. Not that I can blame them. However, things break down in new houses too. Costs seem to be skyrocketing all around. Anyway, that’s what I’m dealing with right now. Not to mention, I still have to go back to doctors to see if they can figure things out medical-wise for me as well.

Have a great week, take care, and God bless!

Posted in blogs, Craft, MG & YA, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

Writerly Things 5/31/2020: The End Point Traci Kenworth


Image by My pictures are CC0. When doing composings: from Pixabay

Writerly Things 6/1/2020: The Ending Point

Traci Kenworth

Do you have an end point to your story? In other words, a theme? Friendship costs. Love wins. Death waits for all men. However, you toss the coin, the message is there. It might be subtle. It might be loud and clear. Hopefully, we learn something.

Challenge.

Is there an issue you feel strongly about? Something you’d like to impart to your reader. Obsession can lead to murder. All kingdoms come to an end. Dragons make fiery pets. Big sharks’ hunger for more and more prey. One ring to lead them all. All of these are end points. What your story is about. Stories can literally be about anything. Challenge yourself to make the best theme you can.

The Chronicles of Narnia are meant to explore Christianity. Or good versus evil always win. It’s the story of children overcoming hard obstacles, standing together, bringing the bad witch down. In His Dark Materials, Lyra learns that both her parents have reasons to bring the world down around her and yet, their greatest sacrifice in the end, is to save her. These are good points. Important points. Why? Because they open the heart of humanity.

Inspiring.

The LOTR showed as a great many things. Friendship is strong enough to go to the ends of Middle Earth. Together, we can face evil no matter how smelly or what size they may be. Love mends all wounds, survives all offenses. The Harry Potter series taught us to believe in a boy and magic. In friendship. In our teachers. Our heroes. Family. And that no matter how hard and the odds, evil will be destroyed.

Over and over, the themes spin around. They always be regrouped. Always be melded to make a new story to expand on things. A theme can be made anew depending on the story. Because not every story is the same. They can’t be the same. We’re all different authors. Therefore, the story will be unique to us. Unless we’re defying copyright (not a good thing to do).

Repetition May Teach Us Right from Wrong.

Maybe we repeat messages to show our morals. Our values may not change over the generations really. I mean, most of us don’t believe in certain things. Crime. Lawlessness. Corrupt governments. So, the stories we seek out might have something to do with battles to overthrow kingdoms such as Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom, and even past war movies. We want to believe we have freedom. And a choice.

Hallmark movies usually contain a family connection or faith in something or someone. Endless of their kind, either historical or current in story line show love between couples and families surviving tragedy or knitting together. Romance novels may do the same. A former husband and wife reuniting when their child is threatened. Families returning to the homestead where grief overcomes them, and fences are mended. Even time travel novels can show the span of your character’s lives from generation to generation.

What Will it be Then?

What theme will you deal with? Where will your story lead or end? A story without a point is nothing but rambling. A character must have a goal, something he/she wants. Whether they get it is the question. And what it takes to grasp it. Will they mourn or soar to the stars?

Does life begin or end for your character? If their goal is lost, does another now take over? All good questions. Only you have the answers. Dig into your story well. Let your characters talk. It could lead to a beautiful story. Or two.

It’s close to summertime. How about some homemade ice cream? Here’s a maker.

A lemonade pitcher? Punch bowl and glasses?

Paper plates? Plastic silverware?

Buffet tray set?

Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, MG & YA

Writerly Things 5/11/2020: Mother’s Day Traci Kenworth


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Writerly Things 5/10/2020: Mother’s Day

Traci Kenworth

Often, we forget how much our mothers might have done for us growing up. They are still there when we need them. They always will be in our hearts. Sometimes, we take them for granted until it’s too late. Let’s try to remember all the little and bigger things they did for us. After all, we wouldn’t be here without them.

The Times They Rescued Us from Faux Pas.

Have you ever done anything you regretted so much you wish you could turn back time and do it over? I have. Plenty of times. Fights with friends growing up. Losing people who meant a lot to you (not to death but just silly stuff, like not speaking up when you could and because of such, losing a boy you might’ve had a future with. Instead, by my actions or non-actions, one of my best friends stopped being a best friend and her brother, whom I really liked, faded into the past.)

I was very shy growing up and it kept me tongue-tied when it came to speaking up. It was another part of why I left college instead of defending myself, I let others push me around and left when I got afraid. I threw away a career I could’ve had and lost two more good friends. Our actions or non-actions, again, can lead us astray.

My mom picked up the pieces left of me after college and helped me pull myself together and unknowingly, helped start me on this path of writing. She had always read and encouraged me to go to the library. Oh, the time I spent there! She never batted an eye or discouraged me when I announced I would write a book. She believed in me. Something that kept me going forward.

I don’t know was more devastated by the crash of my marriage, her or me. She had thought I had this fairytale marriage going on. I hid to the outside world what things were really like within. I spent so much of my life hiding inside someone I didn’t recognize anymore. I dropped hard and it was only through her faith, through my family’s strength, that I rose above the darkness of bipolar and the brutality of my marriage.

She encouraged me to write again. I began journaling through a counselor’s advice and soon the bug to write stories gripped me once again. I started reading craft books again, watching podcasts, and delving into blogs. Little by little, I clung to the fragile strength I had left and lifted myself up. In writing, I was able to express myself. To at last, be me. Writing has brought me back to who I always was but couldn’t see.

Now, I have websites devoted to what I love to do with my time. I pour out stories, hoping they’ll be picked up and published. I write posts for another website, Two Drops of Ink. My mom is still in my corner, rooting me on. I may never get published but I know, she will always be proud of me. What I’ve done with my life. How I’ve raised my kids. I can be the mom I am because of her. Because of the strength and love she showed me. So, this day, I wish her a Happy Mother’s Day and thank her for everything’s she’s done for me and more. Without her, I wouldn’t be here. That’s the truth.

Need a gift or two?

Ready for what comes next? Father’s Day with this or this.

Birthdays? Here and here?

Graduations? This or this.

Posted in blogs, Craft, Family life, MG & YA, Reading, Writing and Poetry, YA

Writerly Things 3/20/2020: Keeping it Steady Traci Kenworth


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Writerly Things 3/30/2020: Keeping it Steady

Traci Kenworth

In these times of uncertainty, it’s good to keep things steady. You may be stuck at home, whether you’re working from home or unemployed, taking care of the kids, or at home from college. Whatever the situation, try to make the best of it.

Try a Hobby.

Is there something you always wanted to do? Writing a book, perhaps? Take a Master Class, attend an online conference, join a writer’s group, the list is endless. Writing is done best by practicing. That means butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard. Unless you write longhand. Do it fifteen minutes each day or longer, if you can. I say fifteen minutes because it’s easier to build up to doing longer if you can maintain a rhythm each time.

What about genealogy? Now, is the perfect time to dig into the family’s history. Be prepared for what you find though. You might find some of your ancestors did less than desirable things. Some could’ve been outlaws. Plantation owners with slaves. And so on. Then again, you might discover some gems to off-set those. A teacher who dedicated her life to helping her students at school and at home. An uncle who was a war hero. Again, the list can go on and on.

Spend Time with Your Family.

Now’s the perfect time to re-connect with loved ones. Ask them about their dreams, what they hope to learn in the future, what their immediate concerns are about life. Just listen mostly. It’s good to let others talk and get things off their minds. We all need a little time to socialize with our friends and other family members perhaps too far away.

Of course, we can keep in contact online as well as the phone but it’s good for face-to-face time with loved ones. Remind each other that you care. Discuss future plans. Plan outings once the coronavirus threat has diminished and things get back to the normal. Although, there may not be a “normal” to go back to. This virus may change all of our lives. Many more might work from home in the future. Home delivery of groceries and fast food may continue. Vacations may be on the backburner for a while.

Pets Just Want to be With You.

I’ve heard that a lot of people chose to foster a pet at this time. I wonder how many will claim that animal as their own when it’s over? It’d be nice to see some good animals get a forever home. Pets can help our health. They say petting animals calms our heart rate, brings our blood pressure down. They are cute and loving for a reason. Who can ignore that sweet face? They just want to be near you, to get some of your time.

Don’t forget to take care of them as well at this time. They can fall ill, get injured, etc. Make sure you play with them. Even if it’s just tossing a frisbee in the backyard to your dog. Little moments mean a lot to them. After all, their lives are shorter than ours and don’t they deserve affection more often than we sometimes have time to give them in our busy lives? Hugs them, let them discover a new cardboard box waiting for them. They’ll get such joy from it.

Taking Time for Yourself.

Don’t forget in all of it, to take some time for yourself. Sneak a bubble bath. Curl up with a book. Bring out those oil paints. There’s never a time like the present to enjoy yourself. We shouldn’t dwell on the things happening in the world every moment. Stay alert, of course. But don’t let dread take over your life. We’ll get through this. The best thing we can do is pull closer together (this applies to family, remember social distancing), and help each other through the times ahead. Take care of each other, God bless!

Need a few conversation pieces? How about a game or two?

Book?

Music?

Posted in blogs, Family life, Reading, writers, Writing and Poetry

Book Talk 4/2/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Эльвина Якубова from Pixabay

Book Talk 4/3/2020

Traci Kenworth

Nothing here either. I’ve rearranged my office surroundings. Now, I can see better out the window. My desk seems to have more space as well. The wonders reconfiguring things can do. We’ve finally had a couple days off since this whole thing began. It’s nice to relax and not stress about catching a virus while out and about. Been cooking up a storm! I made chocolate chip cheesecake because I needed to use up some whip cream, I’d had a while. Likewise, pudding cookies with white and dark chocolate chips. Potato salad again. And Chicken Parmesan Casserole.

Today, I made Parmesan Garlic Potatoes and Pioneer Chicken. I remembered pics this time too, though I had eaten most of my chicken by the time I snapped the pic, lol.

How are you faring at home? Are your grocery stores still depleted or have they managed to re-stock at least half their store? Ours are slowly coming back though there is a limit on purchases of certain items now such as water. That one’s hard as I drink a LOT of water. Meat is also still scarcer. Somedays their hamburger and bags of chicken but by the time I get to the aisle, it’s picked through and almost gone.

Pet food is another problem. We found some at a dollar store the other night. There’s plenty of wet food still but the dry is harder to find in the brand they like.

Do you think this will all blow over by Apr. 6th? I’m not counting on it. There are too many cases and more each day. Health officials say it could take much longer to recover as in eighteen months to two years. With no vaccine in sight, that could be right. It’ll take a while once they have one to get it made and distributed as well. There’s going to be some serious problems on the road to recovery with work down. I mean how are the majority going to pay for rent, mortgages, utilities, car payments, credit cards, etc.?

Have a great week, take care, and God bless!

Need to perk your decor up? Try this and this.

Need some inspiration in your cup? Try these and these.

Some candy?

Kindle?

Posted in a bit of seriousness, blogs, Craft, Family life, Writing and Poetry

Writerly Things 3/23/2020: A Glimpse of the Normal Traci Kenworth


Image by Jo Wiggijo from Pixabay

Writerly Things 3/23/2020: A Glimpse of the Normal

Traci Kenworth

Today, while out and about, I caught a glimpse of the normal. At least, what normal used to be. People being sensible with their grocery shopping. Their carts not overflowed. Their attitudes not belligerent and cross. They seemed as though they were hitting their stride in the new reality.

Grocery Shopping.

Of course, while grocery shopping hasn’t returned to its pre-crisis levels, I did see more items stocked on the shelves. We were able to manage to get toilet paper, water, and meat. Something we previously weren’t able to find. I still haven’t been able to locate the kind of cat food my cats like, but they still have some for now. I was able to get a few veggies as well. I felt a sense of relief and encouragement from today’s shopping as I’m sure others did as well. Soap is still a hard find as well. Luckily, we got a few before everything flipped topsy-turvy.

Bills Still Arrive as Usual.

No slow in their pace despite the craziness and the uncertainty. I see some places are saying they won’t shut customers off right now with the mess if they can’t pay their bills. I’m not quite sure they won’t do a hike in the payments though afterwards. And who’s to say mortgages are going to be fair afterward? I know some countries have postponed payments. Still haven’t heard this in U.S. but it’d be nice. Especially if more layoffs occur.

Thankfully, there’s a Trickle of Money Coming in, Not Enough to Pay All the Bills Though.

We’re working to keep what we can taken care of. My ex stopped paying support last month not sure if because of the coronavirus or he’s injured or laid-off. I still have to talk to Job & Family Services and see if they can look into such. Last time, he stopped paying for a year. It was longer in the years before that. It’s part of the obstacles of life. Dive from one bill to another, hoping to keep ahead. I’d hoped to be able to do some work on the house this year, but these hazards will make my credit tank just when it was coasting upward. It aggravates me that someone else can sink my credit just like that.

Monetizing Sites.

This is why I hoped to monetize my sites and have that form of payment coming in as it would help us not to have to depend on his income so much. But alas, it’s slow going there too. I don’t even know if I reached my three qualifying buys for Amazon yet. I know I have at least two. It’s like trying to blow smoke into flames, slow, slow-going. I sold $21 on one Affiliate, but you have to reach $300 before they pay out. That’s going to be a long-time coming, lol. I sold 9 cents on another site. Still another, I made $1.10.

Pets.

 They were one of the last members of the family I saw people buying food for and now their shelves are pulverized. I managed to snag some litter today. My son said he saw a warning to keep your cats inside as they were bad for the eco-layer. He said they said that cats kill more prey than bears and wildcats combined. That’s hard to believe. I don’t let our cats out anyway. A couple years ago, we had a couple cats die due to some stuff the one neighbor used on their lawn beds. We had almost lost a third to the same substance but got the last to the vet in time. The others lasted mere hours.

I See More Cheer on Faces.

I think now that people are getting the items they need and the store doesn’t have all bare shelves anymore, things are starting to settle down. Smiles are starting to come back out. Pleasantness is noticeable. Days ago, everyone was rude and liable to cuss. Even drivers are starting to behave better as if they realize too that it does no good to rush, we’ll all get their sooner or later.

Have a great week, take care, and God bless!

Some craft books if you’re of mind: one, two, three.

Books in YA: one, two.

Books horror: one.

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

Writerly Things 3/ 2/2020: Finding Balance Traci Kenworth


Image by annca from Pixabay

Writerly Things 1/20/2020: Finding Balance

Traci Kenworth

          I know it seems like everyone is telling you to write, write, write all the time, every day. That’s not what balance is about. Balance is about finding a way to make the things you do and the people you care about mingle together in harmony.

Let’s Start with the Most Important.

Your family. Now, of course, this depends on what role you play: son, daughter, mother, father, caretaker, retired and so on. What I want you to see is the people in your lives love you. Even if they don’t respect the field you’ve chosen, you may want to keep them part of your lives. Do that by setting time apart for them. If you spend time with them then it should be easier to arrange to get a few hours a day if you can manage it, to reach your writing goals.

Don’t underestimate what family means at any age. You may push them away otherwise. That may come back to haunt you as you go along in life. I don’t agree with everything when it comes to my extended family, but I still gather with them on occasions. Now that I’m an adult, I see them less and sometimes I miss those get-togethers. Other times, as I discovered over the past year, I enjoy spending time with just my daughter and son. I don’t want to lose that connection with them as they go through the years.

 The Job.

You knew we were going to fit it in there somewhere, didn’t you? You might need this to pay your bills while you write. The reality is: they say it’s increasingly difficult to be supported by just your writing. That’s where the job comes in. To support you and perhaps that family in the years that go along. Maybe you’ll come into some financial success. Maybe you’ll beat the odds. But until then, and perhaps despite them, you might want to hang on through the lean years.

The Writing.

Now, we get down to it. Writing should occupy the time you can afford it. Whether that’s ten minutes a day to eight hours or more. Don’t rush to get to retirement and think now I’ll have all the time I need. The truth is the hours are usually taken up by something. Be it medical appointments, grandchildren, pets, etc. I, honestly, never thought I’d end up disabled. I had a lot of time on my hands at first, when the kids were off to school. Now, I run them to work, run errands, visit all my drs., take my mom and aunt places, and so on. There never seems to be enough time.

However, you can’t use that as an excuse. If you want to write, you will find the way. As I said, put the amount of time you can afford it at any point of your life into. Try as you go along, to add a bit more. The more often you can write, the more practice you’ll get in and the better you’ll improve.

Finding Balance.

Now, think of all the things you want to do. Hobbies, family time, pets, writing, the job, etc. Put everything into a schedule. Some reserved for weekends when you might have more time. Some spread out during the week. Glance at what you have. I reserve indoor and outdoor time as well in my schedule. Less time, of course, in the winter months outdoor but spring & summertime have to apply to all those jobs we don’t want to do like mowing, weeding, adding mulch, etc.

My schedule starts with my tasks on Sat. & Sun. then it moves to a rotation between Tues. & Thurs. and Mon., Wed., & Fridays. I don’t write on Sat. and Sun. except for the occasional blog I need to fill. Instead I concentrate on podcasts and research. Also, craft books. (These are my writing tasks, there’s time allotted to other things as I explained above.) On Teus. & Thurs., I schedule links, do guest blogs, and write for 3 blogs of my own. This can add up quick. I also research agents, and work on edits. Mon., Wed., & Fri., I work on short stories and poems, character builder, and more editing. The short stories and poems sustain me while I’m editing. When I’m finished, I’ll move on to new WIPs.

These are a few things I do to maintain balance in my day-to-day life. If it suits you, try it! Of course, prioritize things according to you.