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

Five Links 5/2/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Carola68 from Pixabay

Five Links 5/1/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/04/conflict-thesaurus-entry-an-estranged-relative-showing-up/ “Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.

It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.”

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/04/28/10-motivational-reminders-for-small-writers-with-big-dreams/

3. https://jenanita01.com/2020/04/28/progress-report-or-how-i-learned-to-love-my-work-again/

4. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/05/loving-your-hateful-antagonist/ “The antagonist is a character that many readers love and many writers hate. In fact, one of my author friends told me that writing her antagonist was a painful experience. “It was a really hard book to write. I had nightmares when I was writing about this character. It was one of the best feelings in the world when I finished writing this.”

In writing my current book, The Hobo Code, I learned what she meant. The book’s main antagonist is a psychopath. To capture the essence of the character, I picked the brain of a retired forensic psychologist and her suggestions surprised me. For example, she recommended I not write chapters from that antagonist’s perspective. “You don’t want to go there,” she said vehemently. “It will give you nightmares.”

I wonder how many forensic psychologists have PTSD by the time they retire.”

5. http://booksbywomen.org/writing-uncertainty-in-uncertain-times/ “n the period since WWII and the Cold War, it is doubtful that we have a frame of reference for the uncertainty with which people lived in the past. Until the unprecedented danger and constrictions of COVID-19, our era, in contrast to previous history, has come to expect that life is fairly free of dangers, other than perhaps those we inflict upon ourselves, severe illnesses, and, more recently, mass shootings.

My generation suffered through mumps and measles, which made us very sick. There were those for whom the results were far more dire. I had rheumatic fever as a child. Smallpox had been eradicated by then through vaccination. The great fear was polio. One girl in my hometown lived her life in an iron lung. A boy at a sleepover woke totally paralyzed and later died. By the time I reached fourth grade the Salk vaccine ended those fears.

There are still terrible things that threaten us: birth defects, mental and emotional disorders, and cancer. There is still an occasional incidence of something once highly epidemic; my husband contracted cholera from eating a contaminated raw oyster. These events tend to affect individuals, not whole societies, entire countries, let alone the world.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/life-in-the-modern-era/ “Things have been slow around here, but I don’t want you guys to forget about me. I wasn’t designed to work from home, but I’m doing it anyway.

There have been a lot of connectivity issues and delays, but I’m getting things done somehow. I was supposed to be in Savanna this week, but that got canceled. The conference went virtual, so I’ve been attending Zoom meetings like everyone else. It works, but doesn’t encourage a lot of interaction. Today is my flex day, but there was one meeting I wanted to sit in on late morning. This seems to be how it’s done right now.

I always get up early, so I had some writing time before I had to log in. I’ve been on a roll with Lanternfish, but I have samples out for critique. That made it easy enough to eliminate for today.”

2. https://acoup.blog/2020/05/01/collections-the-battle-of-helms-deep-part-i-bargaining-for-goods-at-helms-gate/ “This is the long-awaited first part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. We’re going to discuss how historically plausible each sequence of events is and, in the process, talk a fair bit more about how pre-gunpowder (although we will actually get some gunpowder explosives!) warfare works.

Before we dive in, I want to remind old readers and notify new readers alike that you can support me on Patreon. If you want to register for email updates to know when every new post lands, you can do so by clicking this button:”

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Some Things More Serious:

1. https://jenanita01.com/2020/04/28/progress-report-or-how-i-learned-to-love-my-work-again/ “I have been an editor/proof-reader for years and always considered myself reasonably good at my job. I never had any complaints, which is my benchmark for how good you really are. In fact, several Literary Agents complimented me on the quality of our submissions.

English was always my favourite subject and I read a lot of books, but never once considered being a writer. I was far too busy managing Anita’s books, back in the day when manuscripts had to be submitted to agents and publishers in a very particular fashion.

Over the years, we received stacks of very encouraging and favourable letters from both agents and publishers alike, almost leading to publication a couple of times but sadly, despite almost being good enough, Anita was never published.”

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Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/04/29/treasuring-poetry-with-robbie-cheadle-at-writing-to-be-read-and-a-review-of-life-lines/

2. https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/day-after-a-tanka/

3. https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/napowrimo-day-28-when-there-is-nothing-but-memories/

4. https://kittysverses.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/happy-outcomes/

5. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/rapidly-cooling-senryu/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://michellemuto.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/6004/ “The Haunting Season:
Be careful what you let in…
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.” This book is SO good! It’s true to it’s name: haunting!

2. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/04/29/announcing-dust-grim/ “’m excited to see how people react to this — it’s very plainly a kids’ book, as I wanted to write something in line with what my son could read by the time he’s of that age, and this should time out pretty well for that. I’m in the middle of editing the book now, and am very pleased to be working with Deirdre Jones, who like my Del Rey editor Tricia has sought to bring out the best version of the vision I’m putting into the book, which is to me the ideal editor-author relationship. Thanks to Deirdre and LB for wanting this book, and for my wonderagent, Stacia Decker, for helping deliver that deal. Hopefully you all will dig it. We initially considered using a pseudonym for it, but there was the feeling that though I’m traditionally an adult author (though I’ve written YA, and those books are on sale this month at Amazon, btw) with a adult social media presence, it shouldn’t impact what kids that age look for or care about. But maybe that’ll change and you’ll find this book coming out under my carefully-crafted pseudonym, RICK RIORDAN. I don’t think anyone has taken that one yet! Failing that, I could always go with the name of my great grand-uncle, JOHN KENNEY ROWLING, though I think it’d be classier to use the first two initials? Whatever.

More as I have it, folks.

Also P.S. the name Michelle under that photo is not my name, but rather, the photographer credit.”

3. https://middlegrademojo.com/2020/04/29/the-mojo-minute-with-erin-entrada-kelly/ “As the nation anxiously awaits the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the Thomas siblings explore complicated galaxies of their own: life in a tense and crowded house in Park, Delaware; unrequited first crushes; and the pressures of fitting in and finding their place in the world. Smart and responsible Bernadette, known as “Bird,” aspires to be the first female space shuttle commander for NASA. Her twin brother, Fitch, struggles with an explosive temper that he doesn’t understand. And their older brother Cash is in danger of failing 7th grade, again.

“Kelly writes a heartfelt story of family and the bond of siblings. . . . Put this book in your orbit.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Newbery Award–winner Kelly follows three Delaware siblings in the weeks leading up to the January 1986 launch of the Challenger. . . . Kelly shows the incredible power of words—the irreparable damage they inflict and their ability to uplift—while crafting a captivating story about family’s enduring bonds.” (Publishers Weekly)”

4. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/curse-of-the-blacknoc-witch-blog-tour-fantasy/ “Samuel dreamed of being a lot of things, but a monster trapped in a forest realm never entered his mind. The Blacknoc Curse wasn’t supposed to be true, only a children’s story meant to persuade them away from evil. Yet, here he was tasked with hunting cursed kids. There’s nothing left for Samuel except the horror surrounding him.

Layla, a young girl tormented by the same curse, is dropped into the terrifying forest every night, running from the monsters intent on taking her life. She meets Samuel and vows to save all the children, especially Samuel, from their torment.

Working together can they defeat the Blacknoc Curse?”

5.

Need new bedding? Pillows? Sheets? Blankets? Sham?

Curtains?

Dresser?

Makeup station?

Lighting?

Candles?

Posted in blogs, MG & YA, Reading, YA

Book Talk 5/1/2020: What I’ve Read in YA Traci Kenworth


Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

Book Talk 5/1/2020: Where I’m at Reading YA

Traci Kenworth

I’m about to finish one YA book and I’ve started back reading others. I’ve finally been at home with my car needing repairs. I’ve been back in the mood to read and write lately so things should be shifting around eventually here, and more reviews will appear. I’ve lost some momentum, true but I’m going to push through as best I can. I’ve also been ill with a severe sinus headache, muscle strain in my neck and shoulder, and an earache. I’m taking antibiotics now and things have been improving. I’m still so fatigued though so that wears on my days at home. I’ve had a few Netgalley deadlines I’ve had to get through for my romance readership. So reviews will be coming there as well.

Looking for a bathing suit for summer? Here and here? Covering? Men’s? Kids’ here and here. Teen girls and boys?

Suntan lotion?

Shade umbrella?

Beach towels?

Luggage?

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

Five Links 4/10/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

Five Links 4/11/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://megdowell.com/2020/04/03/writers-just-relax-it-will-change-your-life/ “You might not know it, but you generally do just about everything better when you’re relaxed.

When I took voice lessons in college, my instructors spent more time telling me to relax (physically) than just about anything else. I clench and tighten my jaw a lot because of my anxiety, and you can’t actually sing properly without loosening your jaw. I quite literally had to start going to therapy to improve my mental health so that I could physically relax enough to perform correctly. (It helped with other things, obviously, but … you know.)

Years later when I started trying to teach myself the violin, I couldn’t figure out why I was struggling so much to get the proper techniques down. It turns out I still tense up every single muscle in my body when I’m doing things. That makes playing an instrument extremely difficult, too.” This might be hard to do at this time, but we need to remember who’s with us. Our family. Our faith. Our belief. Let that get you through.

2. https://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/writing-resolutions-making-them-and-keeping-them-ep-14-free-podcast-for-writers/ “Welcome back to the rerun of my radio show, So You Want To Be A Writer. In today’s episode you’ll see one glaring hazard of the seasonal show – the new year issue that’s no longer at new year. But today’s a new week! And, more seriously, we’re all getting used to new normals, so perhaps the material in this show is timely after all.

We’re covering everything you need to harness your creative zeal, get your projects moving, set good habits, keep going when hurdles get in your way.

You might have noticed our inspirational music choices. Obviously you fast-forward through them if they’re not your bag, but I have to give a warning about one of today’s. It’s the Portsmouth Sinfonia. If you don’t know the Portsmouth Sinfonia, make sure you’re not operating heavy machinery. I first heard them while driving and I nearly crashed.

Asking the questions (or most of them) is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Answering them is me!”

3. https://www.septembercfawkes.com/2020/04/how-book-is-like-baby.html “Story time: When I had been out of high school for less than a year, one of my friends had her first baby. I still remember some of the advice her mom gave her. Something along the lines of, “Everyone wants to put their baby on a schedule, but you know, the baby will let you know when it needs something. The baby will cry when it’s hungry, when it is wet, or when it is tired. It will let you know.”

Now, I’m still not a parent, and I’m sure life can be more complicated than that (and that people wished their baby’s needs were a little clearer), but something about that statement stayed in my nineteen-year-old brain. Maybe part of it was the relief it brought in knowing that any frustration that might come from trying to enforce a set schedule, would be avoided.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking about how a book is like a baby.

You study and plan and prepare and pick names. You might even envision a whole path your “baby” will take. You might prewrite and outline and organize.”

4. https://www.livewritethrive.com/2020/04/06/incidental-characters-that-make-your-novel-zing/ “Minor characters are part of your cast of characters. They come “on stage” from time to time and serve specific purposes in the story. They don’t have huge, front and center roles, but they’re important to the overall plot.

The characters at NASA trying to get Mark Watney home from Mars in The Martian have bit parts, but without them, the story fails. Same with the crew of Watney’s ship, his pals who make the hard decision to turn around and go back for him, committing to many months’ delay in returning to Earth.

There are few moments with these minor characters, but if they were removed from the story, there would be no story to speak of. So, remember, they are only minor in the amount of stage time they have in the pages of your book. But they are not minor in value or purpose.

Incidental characters are in a different category. They can be removed from your story and it wouldn’t truly impact it. Their absence would not equate to novel failure. However, I will venture to say that sometimes it’s the incidental characters that add that special ingredient that makes a novel terrific and stand high above the mounds of other good novels.

It may perhaps be counterintuitive to say that incidental characters often have a big impacting role in a story, but I’d like you to pay close attention to this and consider how you might work incidental characters into your story.”

5. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-writing-saves-us/ “Tick-tock. The clock rolls on—marking time for all of us who are in the day-by-day progression of processing our understanding of and reaction to the nearly global and mostly voluntary quarantine in response to the startling arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My own emotions have been all over the map—from a rational and pragmatic outlook one minute…

…to having all my germaphobic tendencies massively”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://whenangelsfly.net/2020/04/03/5-dramatic-techniques-to-transform-your-writing-nicholas-c-rossis/ “ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors, recently published a post on dramatic techniques by Jules Horne, author of Dramatic Techniques for Creative Writers.

With a background in scriptwriting, Jules is perfect for explaining how the dramatic techniques used in theaters and movies can power up your writing and make your storytelling bolder, more engaging, and more compelling. After all, these techniques have been test-driven for centuries in front of unforgiving live audiences, and they work!

Here are five ways you can use them to transform your fiction writing.”

2. http://www.fantasybookcafe.com/2020/04/its-time-for-women-in-sff-month-2020/ “It’s April, and for the ninth year in a row, this month is dedicated to highlighting some of the many women doing wonderful work in speculative fiction! Starting tomorrow, this blog will be featuring guest posts by women doing work in science fiction and fantasy, discussing everything from their experiences and inspirations to thoughts on writing and speculative fiction to the current pandemic. I’m incredibly excited about sharing their essays with you over the next few weeks!

Women in SF&F Month was created after some discussions that took place in the online science fiction/fantasy book community around March 2012 regarding review coverage of books by women and the lack of women blogging about books being suggested for Hugo Awards in fan categories. Seeing the responses to these—including the argument that women weren’t being reviewed and mentioned because there just weren’t that many women reading and writing SFF—got me thinking about spending a month highlighting women reading, reviewing, and writing speculative fiction to show that there certainly are a lot of us. At that time, April was the earliest this could happen, and I was astounded by the number of authors and reviewers who accepted my invitation to write a guest post, as well as their wonderful pieces.

Things have changed a lot since 2012 and the years that closely followed it, but especially given that everything has seemed under threat lately, I think it’s important that women’s voices continue to be heard and have run the series every April since. One thing that has not changed is that I continue to be astounded by all the wonderful essays that are part of this series, and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has written a piece for it.

There’s also an ongoing recommendation list project that has been part of it since the second year. In 2013, Renay from Lady Business not only wrote about her personal experience with finding it difficult to find books by women when she was starting out as a young genre fan but also asked readers to submit up to 10 SFF books by women that they loved. Those individual recommendations were made into a list containing the number of times a work was submitted, and we’ve collected new book”

3. https://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/criticism-for-your-writing-how-to-seek-it-how-to-take-it-getting-feedback-free-podcast-for-writers/ “here’s a lot of criticism involved in being a writer. It’s part of every stage of writing a book. Early on, you need feedback to help you with your personal vision. Later, you might get input from publishing professionals – editors, literary agents, publishers. Some of them might reject your work! (Rest assured, this happens to all of us.) Finally, after all those thrashings, you’ll get opinions from readers and critics. We need thick skins at times; receptive hearts at others. We need to learn who to trust, who’s not a good fit for our aims, who to laugh off with a shrug. And alongside all these we have our harshest critics – ourselves, our hopes.

That’s what we’re talking about today.

Asking the questions is independent bookseller Peter Snell. Answering them is me!”

4.  https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/04/5-methods-for-writing-a-novel/ “et’s face it: the current state of events has thrown all of us into a tailspin. Some of us are juggling lots of new responsibilities while others are struggling to figure out what to do with our time. As hard as it is for the former group to fathom, this situation has provided an actual opportunity for many people to finally sit down and write. Maybe you’ve been putting it off, unsure where to start, and now the temporal barriers are gone. If you’re in this boat, Rachael Cooper from Jericho Writers is sharing some novel-writing methods that might give you a push in the right direction.

Writing a novel is not just a case of putting pen to paper and letting your imagination run wild—at least not all the time. For most writers, their novels begin with some form of structure. Planning for each twist and turn can be hard at first, especially if you don’t quite know how it all hangs together, but with any of these techniques, you’ll be fully prepared to plot your novel and make the most of your writing time.”

5. https://awriterofhistory.com/2020/04/09/setting-is-like-an-iceberg/ “o what exactly is setting as it relates to historical fiction? I’ll attempt to answer that, but I know that my answer will be incomplete. In addition, many of the items listed below also fit into the category of world building – I’m having trouble separating the two! We’ll explore world building later.

A few years ago, I wrote Time Travel – The Work of Historical Fiction where I listed all sorts of details I needed to explore to develop a novel set in 1870s Paris. Since then, other authors have written guest posts that have helped expand the notion of setting and I’ve done more digging on the topic. In this post, I’ve organized the components of setting into broad categories to make it more useful.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/04/09/disjecta-membra-3/ “Once again I return not with a single blog post (because I can barely concentrate enough to manage that feat), but a prismatic one — a single blog post broken up into fragmented, colored beams. Please to enjoy. Or don’t. Don’t enjoy things. No obligations.

A good portion of my day is now spent as a digital hunter-gatherer. I eyeball our supply and try to loosely plan meals and such and then I’m like, I DON’T THINK WE HAVE ENOUGH EGGS OH FUCK OH FUCK and then I realize Easter is coming and so I spend an hour doing some kind of Internet deep dive trying to source local eggs, and I make a bunch of phone calls and then, boom, I get two dozen eggs and the day is saved. Until the next crisis. Do I have enough toilet paper? I better go check again, oh shit, oh shit. Can I wipe my ass with tree bark or an errant squirrel? Should I have some kind of toilet-side shower pail, a tabo?

Last night, part of my huntering-gathering was about cocktail ingredients. I know. I know. That is probably not healthy? I promise I’m not drinking any more, I’m just not drinking any less — zing! Ahem. No, it’s just, we have a lot of base spirits. I’m well-stocked on gin and whiskey and such, but then, things to mix? Not so much. And yes, you can drink whiskey straight, and I do, but these days I am a fancy man who sometimes likes to add in various syrups and occult reagents to my drinky-dranks. Or tonic, at least. I think tonic makes gin medicine. Right?”

2. https://telavivsferalcats.home.blog/2020/04/09/can-animals-show-altruism/ “Some people believe showing unselfish concern toward others’ welfare is something only humans are capable of, that it’s part of our social behavior. However, animals can be altruistic and compassionate, too, sometimes more so than humans.”

3. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/04/09/seeking-and-well-being/ “The human condition has changed little at the level of the soul and is unlikely to do so for a long time to come. Over the course of various workshops, the Silent Eye has ventured into the furthest reaches of past and future with its themes, drawing upon both ancient cultures and science fiction for inspiration. We have woven tales around sacred sites and explored the symbolism of myth… places outside of time. Place and time are irrelevant, the questions we carry may have changed over the centuries, but only by our ability to formulate them in ever more complex ways. The essence of those questions echoes back through our distant legends and will reverberate through our future. Who are we? Why are we here? And is the meaning of ‘life, the universe and everything’ something more understandable than ‘42’?”

4. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2020/04/08/quotations-on-empathy/

5. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/video-dont-lose-hope/

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/above-giants/

2. https://rivrvlogr.com/2020/04/03/23487/

3. https://postcardpoems.home.blog/2020/04/03/the-old-soldier/

4. http://pratibhawrites.com/2020/04/regret/

5. https://annieneugebauer.com/2020/04/07/things-that-are-always-here/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://middlegrademojo.com/2020/04/09/mo-books-the-wonder-of-wildflowers-by-anna-staniszewski/The Wonder of Wildflowers is by far the most personal project I’ve worked on. It’s about a young girl who is an immigrant in a country that’s closed itself off from the rest of the world in order to protect its most valuable resource, a magical liquid called Amber. The idea was inspired by my own experiences as a Polish immigrant, acclimating to life in what felt like a magical new land. When I first had the idea of writing a story inspired by my own experiences, I started off by trying to write it as realistic fiction, peppered with a bit of humor. But the genre and voice just weren’t working. Then it occurred to me that perhaps this land didn’t just feel magical to my protagonist—perhaps it really was magical. Once I knew that about the setting, the voice and plot fell into place pretty quickly.”

2. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/04/09/corry-l-lee-five-things-i-learned-writing-weave-the-lightning/ “Empire. Revolution. Magic.

Gerrit is the son of Bourshkanya’s Supreme-General. Despite his powerful storm-affinity and the State’s best training, he can’t control his magic. To escape the brutal consequences, he flees.

Celka is a travelling circus performer, hiding both her link to the underground and her storm-affinity from the prying eyes of the secret police. But Gerrit’s arrival threatens to expose everything: her magic, her family, and the people they protect.

The storms have returned, and everything will change.

3. http://www.fantasybookcafe.com/2020/04/women-in-sff-month-k-s-villoso/ “Today’s guest is K.S. Villoso, author of The Agartes Epilogues series and Blackwood MaraudersThe Wolf of Oren-Yaro, the first novel in her epic fantasy trilogy Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, was recently republished by Orbit Books with the next two books in the series following soon—The Ikessar Falcon in September and the new conclusion next year. I’m excited for the rest of this series since The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is exactly the type of book I love to read: a character-driven story with a vivid voice that captured my attention from the very first line and kept me riveted until the very end.”

4. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/04/08/bookreview-wake-robin-ridge-by-marcia-meara/ “Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, has set Book One of her Wake-Robin Ridge series amid the haunting beauty of the North Carolina mountains, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.

“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”

On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.”

5. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/04/09/the-secrets-of-hawthorne-house-by-donald-firesmith-genre-ya-mg-urban-fantasy/ “Matt’s life changes forever when a family of druids moves into the dilapidated Victorian mansion next door. The story of an unlikely friendship, the clash of two completely different cultures, secret magic, and a search for the lost Hawthorne treasure.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Mitchell was having the worst summer imaginable. Matt’s misery started when a drunk driver killed his mother. Then his father moved him and his twin sister to the small town of Hawthorne in rural Indiana, as far as his grieving father could take from the ocean that Matt’s mother had loved. At the new high school, three bullies are determined to make Matt miserable. And to top it off, Matt learns that the recluse who lives in the ‘haunted house” next door is none other than Old Lady Hawthorne, the town’s infamous witch and murderer. Matt’s terrible summer is turning into an awful autumn when something quite unexpected happens. Old Lady Hawthorne’s niece and her three children arrive, and Matt meets Gerallt.”

How are you weathering things? Do you find yourself in need of cleaning products? Here are one, two, three links to help out.

How about pet food? Dogs: one, two. Cats: one, two.

Hygiene: One, two, three.

Snacks (yes, they can bring comfort!): one, two.

Tea: one, two.

Coffee: one, two.

Movie: one.

Book: one, two.

Office supplies: one.

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

Five Links 3/27/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by JacekBen from Pixabay

Five Links 3/27/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/03/conflict-thesaurus-bad-weather/ “Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.

It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.

Conflict: Bad Weather”

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/03/20/10-signs-writing-success-is-actually-closer-than-you-think/

3. https://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/how-to-plan-a-novel-ep-6-free-podcast-for-writers/

4. https://jamigold.com/2020/03/writing-craft-basics-how-to-format-dialogue/ “If your brain is any amount of scattered like mine, now might be a good time to cover some of the basics of our writing craft. So let’s tackle a subject I haven’t dug into here before: dialogue formatting and a few do’s and don’ts.

I originally started this post intending to dig deeper into a dialogue point-of-view question a reader asked, but the introduction of these formatting basics took up the whole post. Oops! So rather than shortchanging either topic, I’ll cover the basics today and we’ll come back to the more advanced stuff on Thursday. *smile*

Most of us who want to write also love reading, so we might think we already know everything about dialogue formatting, but sometimes a tricky situation can catch us by surprise. So let’s make sure we know all there is to know about dialogue formatting.”

5.  https://rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/brainstorming-by-yourself/ “All across the nation, people are staying home, socially distancing, and generally isolating themselves. Which means, getting together with your critique partners has become a national no-no, unless you’re FaceTiming or using one of those conferencing aps like Zoom.

So what’s a writer to do when you’re staring a new book, and that writer’s retreat that you scheduled where you were going to plot it out with friends has been postponed indefinitely? Short answer: you gotta suck it up and figure it out on your own.

Here’s something I do whenever I get stuck, or I’m just starting a book, and my critique partners and brainstorming posse is unavailable.

Step One: I get a piece of paper and at the top I write the character’s name. And right under that I write down his/her major external goal or problem.

Step Two: For ten minutes I write down stuff that could happen that would make it harder to achieve that goal, or which would make the goal more important. I write down everything including dumb ideas, cliches, and stuff that’s just silly. When the timer goes off, I usually have a list of at least 20 things that could happen, and usually the last few are kind of interesting.

Step Three:  I get a second piece of paper, write down the character’s name and his/her goal at the top.  And then instead of thinking about things that would make the goal more important or harder, I think about all the things that could happen that would make the character’s goal more important/problematic for the community in which the character operates.  In my case that’s always a small town, but for a police procedure it could be the local government or police force.

Step Four:  I get a third piece of paper, write down the character’s name and his/her goal at the top.  And then I list out all the things that might happen that would make achieving the goal or solving the problem a life or death proposition.  This one is harder than the rest because of the kind of books I write.  But I always find ideas when I do this.

When you’re finished with this exercise you will have more ideas on how to “raise the stakes” in your story, and add conflict, which is what people want to read.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/03/20/found-mounds-the-call-of-albion/ “‘…Maybe it is because it is our third visit or maybe it is because there are three of us, or maybe we had to work out the St Andrew thing before we were allowed to ascend, who knows?

Whatever the reasons, we re-convene on top of the man-made-conical-mound which hides behind the Church of St Nicholas, High Bradfield and Wen has an interesting take on proceedings.

“If St Andrew of Scotland is Andrew the Disciple of Christ then he may have come over here with Joseph of Arimathea.”

2. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2020/03/20/types-of-spying-in-war-of-nytefall/ “Now, this may be a better topic for War of Nytefall: Ravenous, but I felt like I couldn’t risk forgetting it.  Spying and gathering intelligence is still very important in Eradication, especially when you see one of the big moves that Leo Kandrel makes.  In fact, the Dawn Fangs and their enemies have come to see that gathering information is more important than battles.  This is where the real struggle comes from since many events come down to who knows what and who learns of things first.  The side that pinpoints the location of the Fist of Durag could very well turn the tide of the slow-moving war.

Now, I’ve noticed about 6 types of spying that goes on in War of Nytefall.  It’s actually 3 to each side.  There is a 7th that I can’t talk about though because of spoilers.  Let’s leave that one alone and dive right into the methods.”

3. https://jenanita01.com/2020/03/20/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-shortstory-horses-satin-and-cinders-by-jan-sikes/ “A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.”

4. https://scvincent.com/2020/03/21/dignity-and-memories/We were supposed to be in Scotland this week, revisiting a magical place. However, that cannot happen at the moment. As things are rather up in the air, I thought I’d revisit a past trip this week and share a bit of history from a past adventure… and a Yorkshire parish church with an awful lot of history:”

5. https://marciamearawrites.com/2020/03/23/character-archetypes-the-trickster/ “If you’ve been following my reblogs of C. S. Boyack’s series on archetypes, you’ll really enjoy his Story Empire post today on Tricksters. What are they and how can writers use them to add surprising elements to their stories? Just head on over and check it out. You’ll be glad you did! Oh, and please don’t forget to share so others can learn more about archetypes, too. Thanks, and thanks to Craig for such an interesting and helpful post. 🙂

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/what-does-this-pandemic-mean-for-writers/ “his is the question I’m getting over and over again from my authors. COVID-19 has changed everything. How is this going to affect us? What’s going to happen to publishing?

The short answer is: Nobody knows. But there are a few truths we can point to.

First, people are going to continue to read. If you’re a writer, keep doing what you do, because we need you.

Second, publishing has already survived pandemics, recessions, the Great Depression, two world wars, the advent of television, the growth of the Internet, and the proliferation of ways to entertain ourselves. Publishing has changed with the times and will continue to do so. My best guess is that books will still be published and people will continue to read them.

In the short term, there may be fallout. Some independent bookstores, which have thankfully been doing well lately, might not survive. That would be a big loss. (You can help by supporting your local indie right now!)”

2. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/03/23/writing-through-the-perilous-times-amwriting/ “We live in difficult times. You might be temporarily unemployed unless your work is the sort where you can telecommute. My husband falls into the “work from home” category. My brother does not. Like many others, he is mostly unemployed once again.

If you live in Washington State, you have some help available. They’re small, but better than nothing. Our governor immediately put our fallback resources in place, trying to help our struggling workers and our healthcare system.”

3. https://chelseaannowens.com/2020/03/23/11100/ ““Every persons’ definition of happy may hold a different meaning. I feel it’s important that you recognize what that meaning is for you and once you have defined it, understand that it is up to you to walk toward it.

“It’s so very easy to blame those around us or circumstances we find ourselves in for our happiness. What we do not always realize is that we have control of nothing but our inner voice and a choice. A choice to make our lives more amazing than we thought possible.

“Your happiness depends on you, and while it may not always be clear or it may seem like a dark path to walk, when we realize the light comes from within, the search for it elsewhere is no longer required.”

4. https://whenangelsfly.net/2020/03/23/6-ways-to-help-anxious-children-during-coronavirus-behaviour101/Do you have an anxious child right now? Will they benefit from direct strategies to combat this feeling or will a subtle approach work better? This article provides both.

via 6 Ways to Help Anxious Children during Coronavirus — Behaviour101

5. https://megdowell.com/2020/03/23/when-you-learn-writing-gets-lonely-the-blank-page/ “The Blank Page is a new weekly series on Novelty Revisions dedicated to any writer who is just beginning their journey or starting again after a long pause. Check back every Monday for more tips and inspiration.

Writing — and being a writer — is as fulfilling and worthwhile as it often sounds. There are downsides to every hobby and profession. Writing is also exhausting, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating. But that just makes the entire experience worth the occasional struggle.

Something that isn’t talked about enough is writing and its relation to socialization — mainly that you don’t always understand how lonely writing can be until you experience it firsthand.

It must be discouraging to finally dive into the hobby that could one day become your dream job, only to realize how isolating and lonely it can feel. Especially on days writing is more of a struggle and you wish you had someone to talk with about your frustrations.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/there-are-mowers-mowing/

2. https://kittysverses.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/choice-2/

3. https://www.djranch.org/2020/03/20/flash-fiction-the-storm-to-pass/

4. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-whats-in-a-name-vanessa-in-a-dilemma-by-sally-cronin/

5. https://susansplace.blog/2020/03/23/thank-you-for-all-that-you-do/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/news-round-up-week-ending-20-march-2020/

2. https://pitchwars.org/happy-book-birthday-to-the-derby-daredevils-kenzie-kickstarts-a-team-by-mentor-kit-rosewater/ “A highly illustrated middle-grade series that celebrates new friendships, first crushes, and getting out of your comfort zone

Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and Shelly (aka Bomb Shell) have dreamed of becoming roller derby superstars. When Austin’s city league introduces a brand-new junior league, the dynamic duo celebrates! But they’ll need to try out as a five-person team. Kenzie and Shelly have just one week to convince three other girls that roller derby is the coolest thing on wheels. But Kenzie starts to have second thoughts when Shelly starts acting like everyone’s best friend . . . Isn’t she supposed to be Kenzie’s best friend? And things get really awkward when Shelly recruits Kenzie’s neighbor (and secret crush!) for the team. With lots of humor and an authentic middle-grade voice, book one of this illustrated series follows Kenzie, Shelly, and the rest of the Derby Daredevils as they learn how to fall—and get back up again.”

3. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/03/24/gods-and-dragons-the-dragon-of-time-book-1-by-aaron-dennis-genre-epic-fantasy/ “Gods, Dragons, a mercenary with a blade and no memory of his past…. The world of Tiamhaal is alight in war. Men ruled by kings slay their opposition in the name of their God, but there are others who claim the Gods are little more than scorned Dragons of ages past. Scar has come to find the truth, but is the truth an absolute certainty, or is it just the skewed memory of a forgotten kingdom?”

4.

5.

In need of some post-its?

What about printer paper? Pens?

What about an inspirational book to keep you company during your down time?

Or a good YA title?

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

Five Links 3/6/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Five Links 3/6/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/03/whats-the-best-way-to-discover-your-story.html “Not many people know that the decades-long feud between the Hatfields and McCoys started at a writers conference. The head of the Hatfield clan was an outliner. McCoy was a pantser. They were on a panel together and things got heated. Then the shooting started.

In those days, several McCoys were heard to say that they had to write the book in order to “discover” what the book was really about. If they got tied down to an outline, that’d take all the originality and “fun” out of the writing. They’d chew tobacco when they said such things, and every now and then they’d spit and say something about how an outline removes spontaneity (although they didn’t know words like spontaneity). A McCoy once remarked, “Them ’liners don’t never have no surprises. They don’t discover nuthin’. Got no use for ’em.”

Well, the guns are put away now, but the outliner (plotter) v. pantser divide is still grist for the panel mill. What I want to home in on today is this notion that the best method for “discovering” your story is by not knowing what you’re going to write until you write it. That way the whole thing is organic and surprising. And if the author is surprised (so goes the reasoning) the reader surely will be surprised as well.

Implied in this is the idea that plotters are stuck with their outline and are thus discovery challenged.” Wow. That’s something I didn’t know. Strange, how little differences can make us enemies.

2. https://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2020/03/lists-of-best-writing-hacks-by-numbers.html “When I pondered what to write about for this month’s theme of “Best writing hacks ever,” it occurred to me that better minds than mine have probably made lists and offered suggestions on the topic. I decided to do a little search and see what I could find. As you might imagine, I found plenty!

Without further ado, here is a random compendium of offerings from the vast world of the internet, in ever-ascending numbers of suggestions per list…

3. https://jamigold.com/2020/03/how-to-support-literacy-to-help-authors-readers/ “In my last post, we talked about how writers can pay they help they’ve received forward to others, especially to newer writers. However, there’s another aspect to writing life: readers.

Those of us who publish owe thanks to readers. Without readers, we’d just be publishing books for no reason. Readers help make the time and work we put into writing and editing all worth it.

Those of us who read are grateful to those who write the wonderful books we enjoy. But we also shouldn’t forget to be grateful for our literacy skills. Being able to read probably feels like a basic thing or a given to many of us, but not everyone we encounter in a day possesses those skills.

So to circle back to my previous post, whether we’re a writer and/or a reader, let’s talk about how we all can pay our blessings forward when it comes to literacy. How can we give others the same benefits of literacy we’ve enjoyed?”

4. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/03/organize-your-research-with-notes-at-one-stop-for-writers/ “Before I started using One Stop for Writers, I purchased The Emotion Thesaurus on Amazon, then The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and so on. After starting to use One Stop for Writers I fell in love with having all the thesauruses available to use online, but I ran into a problem: often, more than one entry applied to what I was working on, and in a given entry, only a few lines might apply. I ended up with multiple books lying open and half a dozen browser tabs open as I frantically flipped back and forth between all of them looking for the crucial details I knew were there. Little did I know that One Stop for Writers has a solution for this. It’s called Notes.” I can’t say enough good things about One Stop for Writers! I didn’t know about the note feature but I’m SO in love with the Character Builder!

5. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/dive-in-to-the-shark-tank/ “If you’re a writer trying to wrap your mind around the business end of publishing, I hope you’re watching ABC’s Shark Tank. The show has nothing to do with publishing, but it has everything to do with understanding exactly what you are doing when you put your query or proposal in front of an agent or publisher. Whether you know it or not, you’re going into the shark tank.

The program features a group of six venture capitalists looking for businesses in which to invest. The contestants are entrepreneurs with small businesses needing capital. Each contestant stands before the “sharks,” pitches their business, and specifies the amount of money they’re asking for, and what percentage of their business they’re offering for that investment.

It’s fascinating hearing the pitches, the investors’ reactions and questions, and the negotiations. Then you get to see which businesses come away with an investment and which walk away empty-handed. I love it! I’m”

Research & Fun Tidbits:

1. http://booksbywomen.org/uk-and-us-editors-double-the-fun-and-double-the-edits/ “nternational situations are normal for me. I’m American, I live in Germany, and my wonderful agent is based in the UK. When the book deals for my debut novel Finding Clara (UK) / The German Heiress (US) started rolling in, I hadn’t really given a thought to how the editors at the different publishing houses would approach revisions. Turns out I had deals in the UK and the US within weeks of eachother, and two editors eager to work in tandem with me on the editorial process. 

Two editors instead of one! Would this mean too many cooks spoiling the book? I wasn’t sure going in. But I was so excited by the enthusiasm of the teams that I was more than willing to jump in. Here’s how it worked on a practical level. 

The editorial letter

I won’t lie. It was intimidating because it was long! About 10 single-spaced pages of the most indepth analysis of my book that I’d ever experienced.”

2. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/03/04/self-editing-the-point-of-no-return-amwriting/ “Misfortune and struggle create opportunities for growth. We place obstacles in our protagonists’ paths that will force change on them. Crises, even small ones on the most personal of levels, are the fertile ground from which adventure springs.

In the editing process, we must ensure these opportunities are clearly defined, logical, and in the right place.

Most disasters are preceded by one or more points of no return.

3. https://sachablack.co.uk/2020/03/04/018-how-to-structure-a-novel-with-j-thorn/

4. https://whenangelsfly.net/2020/03/04/audiobook-publishing-and-distribution-getting-started-guide-for-authors-by-jane-friedman-chris-the-story-reading-apes-blog/

5. https://megdowell.com/2020/03/04/12-essential-tips-for-writers-on-surviving-and-avoiding-burnout/

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://writersroutine.com/2020/03/04/val-mcdermid-queen-of-crime-talks-changing-the-process-to-fight-writers-block/ “Val McDermid is one of the most successful crime authors in the world. Her novels have been translated into 40 languages, they’ve sold over 15 million copies and show no sign of letting up. She has written procedural crime, cold-case crime, and even penned the first ever ‘cynical, socialist, lesbian, feminist journalist’.

We talk about how her method of writing has changed over the course of 38 books, moving from heavy plotting to hardly plotting at all. Also we chat about how much she cares about her readers, and how she knows which of her characters will solve the crime currently swirling around her mind.”

2. https://ryanlanz.com/2020/03/04/separating-yourself-from-your-characters/ “I expect most people, whether they agree with it or not, are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality classification system which divides the population into 16 groups. Many psychologists complain this is over simplified, but although the system appears to consist of four binary couples, each pair is, in fact, a spectrum and the four letter classification merely a place to start. Be that as it may, the idea can be a pretty good place to start when developing characters. It also raises a yellow caution flag for writers.

One thing I find difficult is separating myself from my characters. So, for example, using Myers-Briggs, I am INTJ. An ESFP character would react differently in just about every situation. Consider a scene in which the main character, a marketing manager, is meeting with his team prior to a product launch. The first question I would ask in such a meeting would involve clarifying the timeline so I could plan an effective campaign, verifying my resources and evaluating demographic possibilities, but if this guy is ESFP, his chief concern would be how the customer might relate at an emotional level to the new product, how they might create a marketing campaign fully inclusive of women, indigenous people and minorities, and how the campaign might grab the buyers at a visceral level. However, before even getting to the question stage, this main character would likely lead off the meeting by displaying considerable excitement at the opportunity. He would be effusive in his praise for the product, how it would contribute to the company brand and how it would enhance the lives of customers. This might inspire his team; however, someone such as myself would find him lacking in substance.”

3. http://booksbywomen.org/rediscovering-my-voice/ “Mine never was a voice to blend in and certain never to be stifled. From the moment I was old enough to join the local children’s choir, I was a thorn in my director’s side, and despite her encouragement in cheerful falsetto, her attempts to teach me balance, my voice – already too big and too bold – possessed of far too much vibrato for a twelve year old…stood out.  

 So off to vocal lessons I went, a three-hour drive away as no teacher in my small hometown wanted to grapple with a middle school student who yearned to sing Puccini, but needed to start with Mozart, then work her way up by way of French mélodie and German lieder. My parents, who were (and still are) inexhaustible givers and my greatest champions, made the journey with me once a month, sometimes twice. 

 However, despite ensuring I practiced diligently and mouthing the words to every song I sang so often I was forced to ignore them whenever I sang in front of an audience, they also gently encouraged me to pursue my love of books and writing rather than music. I was a top student in my advanced placement and running start Language Arts courses, and had won several writing competitions, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. I preferred storytelling through song, crafting and coloring phrases with the timbre and tone of my emergent soprano instrument. I craved the thrill of the spotlight and the applause. I wanted people to adore me. After all, my vocal teachers and collaborators likened my voice to a bell: high, clear, and resounding. A herald, a siren, impossible to ignore. “

4. https://somethingferal.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/lyricist/

5. https://acflory.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/how-to-generate-a-table-of-figures-with-word-16/

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/03/04/rrbc-bookreviews-mountain-justice-and-metal-caste-short-story/ “Mountain Justice is an intense and short read about a woman who is the victim of horrific physical and mental abuse by her husband. Anne is six months pregnant when her savage and mentally unstable husband beats her nearly to death because he thought she looked at another man with interest. Annie is discovered, beaten and bleeding, by her old school friend, veterinarian, Rob, who also helps her care for her horse, Czar. Due to his early intervention, Annie lives, although she loses her baby, and returns to live on the farm, which is actually hers. Her husband, George, is sent to prison for five years.

During this five year period, Annie continues her life on the farm while George nurses his hatred for her from afar. He blames her for his imprisonment and vows to punish her. At the end of the five years, George is released from prison and at the same time, Annie’s horse starts behaving in a strange and unsettled way.”

2. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/04/dark-echoes-video/

3. https://susansplace.blog/2020/03/04/fur-coats/

4. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/03/04/mister-fox-winters-tail/ “Where is Mister Fox? The night howls in triumph… pale eyes watch from the shadows… It is the night of the Hunter’s Moon and the dancing ground should be alive with flame as the Foxes dance in the dark. But the dancing ground is deserted. They are gone. No earthly light pierces the gloom, only the sickly glow of a veiled moon.

Don and Wen stare in disbelief. Whispers in the shadows, a faceless voice, a tale of ambush and betrayal… of Foxes driven from their home and scattered, condemned to wander far from their ancestral lands. Charles James Fox wounded… none has seen him since that fateful night. Will the Hunter’s Moon pass in darkness? Have the Demon Dogs succeeded in their mission to bring eternal winter to the land? Or will their celebrations be short-lived?”

5. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/03/04/where-silence-once-rained/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/grinders-by-c-s-boyack-now-available-on-amazon/ “There are a lot of layers in Grinders. I’m at Charles’s place today to discuss one of the sub-plots that wrapped up fairly well. While you’re there, check out Charles’s blog and his War of Nytefall series. He just released a new volume about the same time I published Grinders.”

2. https://blondewritemore.com/2020/03/05/bookreview-youve-got-my-number/ “One of the best things about being a book blogger is being able to shout about a damn good read. This book by Angela Barton is one of these.

It made me devour it in two days and took my mind off a certain virus which everyone is talking about and my tumble dryer breaking for a 4th time.

This book is not one you can put down for a few days and pick back up. Angela’s style of writing and her twisty plot make it difficult for you to walk away from it. I kept telling everyone I was going to tidy my house and then a few minutes later find myself back in the world of Tess Fenton.

Here’s the blurb:

Three isn’t always a magic number … 
There are three reasons Tess Fenton should be happy. One, her job at the Blue Olive deli may be dull, but at least she gets to work with her best friend. Two, she lives in a cosy cottage in the pretty village of Halston. Three, she’s in love with her boyfriend, Blake.”

3. https://mjmallon.com/2020/03/04/smorgasbord-book-reviews-poetry-and-prose-mr-sagittarius-by-m-j-mallon/

4. https://mythsofthemirror.com/2020/03/04/february-book-reviews/

5. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2020/03/04/the-fist-of-durag-dawn-fang-slayer/

Posted in blogs, Craft, Links, Links, MG & YA

Five Links 3/3/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Five Links 1/18/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/01/six-steps-to-setting-yourself-up-financially-as-a-writer-in-2020/ “I’ve always loved the energy of a New Year. It’s alive with intentions and goals and the buzz of a fresh start. This New Year feels even more special because it’s the start of a new decade too. With that in mind, do you know where you want to be in ten years? What do you think 2030 will see you doing? 

I spent years dreaming of writing full-time but it wasn’t until I developed a money mindset that the dream of quitting my day job became a reality. This post outlines some of the tips and tricks I used to set myself up, which I hope will help you move into the next decade able to make your dreams a reality too.

Tip 1: Know What You Need”

2. https://kriswrites.com/2020/01/15/business-musings-the-year-ahead/ “I wasn’t going to write this post. In fact, I just told a friend that I didn’t see a point in writing this post for 2020, but she knows me well enough to know that if she asks the question, my mind will turn it over and over and over, and I might come up with an answer.

Or at least, a blog post.

She asked if I was going write blogs on the American election year, specifically as it relates the writing and publishing business. I wrote several posts on the effect of a U.S. election on sales back in 2016 (start with this one) and she hoped I would do more in 2020.

I hadn’t planned to. As I’ve looked ahead to 2020, my focus has been on my businesses as one thing, and the election as something else. Since I live in a state that will vote third in the presidential primaries/caucuses, I’m already immersed in the election season—from the waves of ads on television to polling phone calls to requests that I use my copious spare time to volunteer.

Our focus on politics here in Nevada started in April of last year, when the first candidates showed up (including the president and his people), and it really hasn’t slowed down.” I agree. Keep your focus on your writing, even if there comes a book slump this year with all the distractions.

3. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/01/the-perfect-tool-for-crafting-perfect-scenes/Many of you know that Angela and I are super excited about One Stop for Writers and how it simplifies the writing process for authors. So when we get notes from writers going on about One Stop’s tools…well. Icing on the cake. Rodney Buxton recently reached out to let us know how much he appreciated the Scene Maps tool and the ability to export his One Stop tools to Scrivener. He was so excited, he asked if he could write a post about it. So of course we said yes…

For my first novel, I took the pantster approach. It worked, I finished the book, but it took forever. I wrote scenes I didn’t need; I wrote myself down dead-end paths. I quickly realized this wasn’t the way for me.

For my second novel, I wrote an outline of scenes with one sentence to describe the basic action. This worked much better, but there were still scenes I needed to add, a lot of thinking I had to do about why the characters were doing things, and what would move the story in the right direction. Fast forward to my discovery of One Stop for Writers’ Scene Maps.” I use One Stop for Writer’s tools for all my writing. You should check into them!

4. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/01/3-reasons-to-consider-readability/ “Readability is a critical part of editing that doesn’t get a lot of attention.  Whether we’re imparting instructional analysis or immersing readers in elaborate fantasy worlds, knowing our audience’s preferred reading level is key.

What is readability?

Readability formulas are calculations which are written to assess the reading level necessary for the reader to understand your writing easily.
Readability refers to how easy and enjoyable your writing is for the reader.

Good readability can make a reader quit in paragraph 1 or race through the whole story, so consider readability to make your work sparkle for readers.

Writers Rock When They Meet Reader Expectations”

5. https://megdowell.com/2020/01/16/12-simple-and-effective-ways-to-improve-your-writing-skills-over-time/

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://davidgaughran.com/2020/01/16/12-free-graphic-design-tools-authors-writers-canva/ “Free graphic design tools have had a huge impact on my business. One big change in the last few years has been recognizing the importance of branding… and doing something about it too, I guess. Because I was always somewhat aware of the role branding plays in marketing but really fell down in the execution.

Which is a nice way of saying my branding was awful.

That’s no slight on the designers who turned out excellent work for me. My book covers were great, for example, I just didn’t have a coherent vision across my titles which was then parlayed across websites and Twitter headers and email graphics for brand cohesion – or knew why that was so important.

These days my site looks more professional, and the branding lines up with that of my books, social channels, and newsletter. And I’m quite proud of it as I handle all of it myself. Well, almost – I still outsource book covers. But I do the rest, and the funniest part about that is that I’m not remotely artistic in that sense; I couldn’t match colors if you paid me and can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.”

2. http://booksbywomen.org/pitching-your-novel-in-person-how-it-differs-from-the-email-query/ “Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, Senior Editor at Writer’s Digest, has a presentation called Pitch Perfect that lays out terrific suggestions on how to prepare for a live pitch. I was asked to join her in presenting Pitch Perfect at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference last year because the Pitch Slam is where I met my own agent (the amazing Stacy Testa of Writers House). So I’ve “been there, done that”! Here, I’ll summarize some of the highlights of our presentation.

Several writing conferences across the country offer the opportunity to pitch your book idea to agents and sometimes an editor or two. It often has a cute name; at the WD Annual Conference it’s called the Pitch Slam; the San Francisco Writers Conference calls it Speed Dating. Generally, you’re offered a short amount of time (for example, 3 minutes) to pique the interest of a literary agent, and then you move on to the next agent.”

3. https://wilfredbooks.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/the-top-publishing-trends-for-2020/ “Written Word Media (WMD) recently published a must-read article with the top publishing industry trends for the new year, written by Clayton Noblit. I am sharing here a summary that includes their main points.

1. Audiobooks will continue to gain popularity, and more indie authors will invest

A 2019 survey revealed that half of all Americans over the age of 12 have listened to an audiobook in the past year. Additionally, audiobook listeners trended younger. Fifty-five percent of listeners were below the age of 45. The survey stats showed an increase from 2018, and the expectation is that audio will continue to grow.”

4. https://jenanita01.com/2020/01/16/issues-and-views/ “Yesterday, I had some frustrating issues with WordPress over logins, comments, and verification codes.

That generated five posts on this blog, as I expressed my frustrations, warned other bloggers, and finally told everyone it was resolved.

Late last night as I logged off my PC, I checked the stats on my blog for that day. Despite not having posted the episode of my fiction serial, and only posting about my blogging woes, I was amazed to see that it was my biggest day EVER for views on this blog, after more than seven years.

Well over 600 views in twelve hours, beating the previous busiest day by almost seventy views.”

5. https://joanhall.blog/2020/01/17/week-in-review-13/

Some Things More Serious:

1. http://middlegrademojo.com/2020/01/16/get-off-the-bus-and-into-schools/ “Are you and your books stuck on the school bus like bubble gum under a seat, riding around in circles? If the royalties you earn barely cover a daily cup of coffee, I have a solution that can help. I’m here to tell you how to un-stick yourself by getting into the schools as part of your marketing campaign to sell books.

What many people don’t know is that writers who are able to earn a living do so by giving presentations related to the topic of their book, or to the craft of writing. I am a children’s writer. School visits are something I have added to my marketing strategy. They’ve yielded a nice chunk of change.” This sounds like a lucrative market, but I admit I’d be a bit afraid because of my anxiety in crowds. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to be able to get up there and talk but my stomach would be in such knots I’m not sure I could. I suppose we all share the fear of public speaking unless we do so regularly for our jobs.

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/01/16/sylvan-man/

3. https://kimwrtr.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/how-to-write-a-novel-that-will-actually-be-worthy-of-publishing-3/ “So, you say you have a dream, Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. of prospective fiction (or nonfiction) writer. Well, so do I, and so do millions of others around the world. That is to write a book, but not just any damn book: a book that will be good enough to publish.” I want quality as well but be careful you’re not out to write “the great American novel,” because that way ends to failure. You can’t please everyone.

4. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/quotations-on-justice-2/

5. https://beckiesmentalmess.blog/2020/01/17/%f0%9f%8d%8e-january-17-2020-quotes-and-food-for-thought/

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://allaboutwritingandmore.com/2020/01/16/ragtag-daily-prompt-thursday-nothing/

2. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/keep-writephoto/

3. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/friday-inspiration-smile-when-you-think-you-cant/

4. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/angel-messages-january-17-2020/

5. https://www.djranch.org/2020/01/17/whistling-in-the-dark/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/booktour-characterization-katharine-de-montacute-and-a-review/ “I am over at I Read What You Write blog with a guest post: Characterization: Katharine de Montacute, one of the ghostly characters from Through the Nethergate, and there is a lovely review of the book included. Thank you to I Read What You Write for hosting me and to Great Escapes Book Tours for organising this tour. You can find the details here: https://www.escapewithdollycas.com/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours/books-currently-on-tour/through-the-nethergate-by-roberta-eaton-cheadle/

2. https://whenangelsfly.net/2020/01/16/chad-harp/ “Please welcome Chad Harp to my blog. Good morning Chad. Have a seat and a cup of coffee and we will get started. 

Introduce Yourself:

My name is Chad Harp. I’m an Author from Philadelphia and I’ve been writing books for over 30 years.

Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?

I realized that writing was my gift when I was in college. In my sophomore year, I took a course that required me to write a publishable historical perspective – and I succeeded. The article I wrote about Margaret Corbin appeared in The Washington Post on Memorial Day 1991 (when I was still a senior in college). That success led me to write several more historical pieces, which ultimately appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country.”

3. https://mystictalestintin.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/review-one-for-sorrow-two-for-joy/ “So many stories, all tied together with strings of unsaid familiarity. ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’ is a collection of eight beautiful tales penned by Goan writer, Tino de Sa. Tapping into his Goan ancestry, each of the tales carried the common link of a nursery rhyme with the namesake of the title of the book. Themes of sorrow and joy, girls and boys, silver and gold, secrets, food, drink, wishes, kisses and messages – are what make up the stories. 

I have read a few culturally inspired collection of short stories, and this book is definitely one of the best. Each of the stories, though similar in presence, culture and story-telling, are so varied in the emotions and the endings it offered. The rhyme ran along with each tale, and they gave the much-needed connection by binding them together. The stories had a lesson, however subtle. I truly loved the ambience and the narrative tone. The blurb, coupled with the book cover, is sure to draw in readers.”

4. https://mythsofthemirror.com/2020/01/17/need-reviews-try-the-goodreads-review-group/ “There are a fair number of posts on the internet about how to rustle up book reviews.

  • We can add a plea to our author’s pages.
  • We can give away copies of our books (with a disclaimer stating that a review is optional, of course).
  • We can research top reviewers of books like ours, make lists, send emails, try not to be annoying.
  • We can pay to add our books to lists where potential reviewers can download copies.
  • We can hire marketing professionals.
  • We can badger, beg, remind, reward, and ask nicely.

I browse the web once in a while, looking for the miracle formula.

You guessed it – I never find it.

However, I did find a Goodread’s Review Group and have participated several times in Reading Rounds. Their process is “Amazon Approved” because the reviews aren’t reciprocal.  I actually like this no-fuss process. The reviews are honest, timely, and just about guaranteed.”

5. https://teripolen.com/2020/01/17/images-from-subjecta36-colony-series-1-ya-scifi/ “Starting at the top left is my main character, Asher Solomon.  What can I say about Ash?  He’s suffered some hard losses in his seventeen years – more than anyone his age should ever have to experience.  He’ll sacrifice himself to protect those he cares about and hostages taken by The Colony, but makes it very clear to his team that preserving lives while accomplishing their mission is a priority.

Rescuing hostages and fighting Colony soldiers requires an Insurgent to be in top physical shape.  Quick reflexes and hand-to-hand combat training could be the difference between life and death.  Ash and his team train rigorously several times per week.

The bottom right picture will remain a mystery.  Is it Subject A36?  Another mystery character?  You’ll have to read the book to learn the answer!

Meet Brynn, Asher’s girlfriend and a member of his Insurgent team.  She’s also the sister of Asher’s best friend, Noah (who you’ll meet next week).  Brynn doesn’t do casual relationships, and very few people are granted access to her inner circle.  Earning her trust doesn’t come easily.  Once you’re in, it’s for life, and she loves fiercely and unconditionally.  Asher has a strong need to save everyone, but Brynn keeps him focused on who he can realistically help.

The last image is of the abandoned warehouse that serves as the Insurgent.”

Posted in blogs, Craft, Links, MG & YA

Five Links 3/2/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Five Links 1/25/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/01/on-cheating.html “Today is a “need to vent” post. Indulge me.

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, my Dodgers, who have not won a World Series since 1988, were cheated out of the 2017 series by the Houston Astros. It was a seven-game series, mind you, so any small advantage engendered large-scale results.

That’s what happened when the Astros mechanized a sign-stealing system. The whole art of pitching is about mixing it up to fool batters. But if a batter knows when a pitcher is going to bring the heat, he can prepare to swing early. If a change or breaking ball is coming, he can sit on the pitch. This is an incredible advantage for the hitter.” When I started writing, I did so in the style of major writers but that was a learning lesson. I didn’t publish anything with their voices. I used their techniques to grow my own. I can’t imagine the gaming the system part either. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know it happens. I just can’t imagine doing so. If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s to be true to yourself. No matter who you are. What you’ve been through. You’re someone special. Be you!

2. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/01/permission-to-play-video-games/It happens to all of us: at some point, our creative well runs dry. There are lots of reasons for this, and one is that we become so focused on the work that we don’t allow ourselves to have fun. Farah Naz Rishi, a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, is here to tell us why we a break from our writing can often make it—and us—stronger.”

3. https://stevelaube.com/a-writers-double-portion-a-prayer/ “Gracious God, who inspired faulty and feeble people in times past to write for the purpose of changing lives, please let some of that spirit–a double portion, even, as I am faultier and feebler than they were—rest on me as a writer.

Grant me the productivity of Moses, who though he lived in an age before paper or press is credited with “the books of Moses,” revered as Torah by one generation after another.

Grant me David’s lyricism and imagery evident in line after line of psalm after psalm, from “The Lord is my shepherd” to “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

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Research & Fun Bits:

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Some Things More Serious:

1. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/angel-messages-january-24-2020/

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5.

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://trentsworldblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/entrance-writephoto/

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/01/23/re-capture/

3. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/01/23/sea-glass/

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Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/01/18/booktour-a-lovely-review-and-the-use-of-technology-in-through-the-nethergate/ “Thank you toThe Book’s the Thing blog for hosting me today for Day 4 of my Through the Nethergate book tour. This post includes a lovely review for Though the Nethergate as well as a post about the use of technology in the book. There is also a Giveaway you can enter from Brooke Blogs. Thank you to Great Escapes Book Tours for organising this tour.”

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

Five Links 2/29/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Five Links 2/29/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/02/5-mistakes-to-avoid-if-you-want-to-finish-your-book/ “You begin with a wave of excitement. A new book holds so much promise. Then somewhere along the way, something changes. The story gets more difficult. It takes longer to finish a chapter or even a page.

And then suddenly you’re in the middle of the book and you’re stuck. Before you know it, it’s been weeks or even months since you’ve written a word.

Your project dangles dangerously on the precipice of the giant wasteland known as “unfinished manuscripts.”

You must not allow this to happen! If you do, you become one of those writers who don’t finish their projects. We never hear about them.” Keep on even if you think it’s the worst thing ever written. You can always edit. You can’t fix a blank page.

2. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/book-category-why-writer-should-care/ “Having recently decided not to represent a number of writers for the same reason, I’m reminded how important it is to know what book category or genre a manuscript belongs in. Or as we talk about it in publishing: Where does your book fit on a bookstore’s shelves? Yeah, yeah, I know we’re pretty much talking about virtual shelves nowadays. But for the aspiring author, it doesn’t matter which shelf, just so it’s on a shelf.

Why Book Categories Matter

Sometimes a writer creates a manuscript that’s neither beast nor fowl. It’s not exactly a memoir that centers on grief yet it’s not exactly a prescriptive book on grief. Hello! It needs to be true to its “kind,” to be one thing or the other…”

3. https://sachablack.co.uk/2020/02/26/017-what-should-writers-quit-with-becca-syme/

4. https://conniejjasperson.com/2020/02/26/self-editing-looking-at-paragraphs-and-sentence-length/ “I was recently asked how long sentences should be. There is no hard and fast rule, but opinions abound, so I will offer you some things to be considered in the editing process.

Let me say first that sentence length is a matter of the author’s personal style. Some of us write long sentences strung together with commas, and others break things out into shorter, more concise packets of information.

If you are familiar with the rules of punctuation and use your commas wisely, longer sentences will flow well.

If you’re unsure of how to use commas, and simply put them anywhere you pause, or take a breath, you’ll have a long, convoluted mess on your hands, similar to this sentence.

In writing genre work, we consider the age and reading experience of our intended reader. Generally speaking, for younger readers, we use shorter sentences and a narrower vocabulary.”

5. http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2020/02/twitter-misbehavior-by-agents.html “One comment that popped out was from Nicole:**

Twitter Misbehavior

This could be an entire comment/article unto itself, but it’s really demoralizing to see agents taking to public-facing Twitter to complain about their day-to-day. 

Every industry has crappy aspects you complain about with your coworkers, but you do it at the water cooler or in a private Slack. You don’t take to Twitter where your potential clients and current clients can see you. 

Watching agents subtweet honest mistakes on queries, give air to the trolls in their inboxes, blame writers for daring to get an offer on a manuscript they’ve left sitting in their inbox for months and months and then not notifying them (b/c of the NORMAN expectation, but only sometimes) or not giving them long enough to read (despite giving the industry standard of 10 days to 3 weeks)—it’s exhausting and feels so much like a punch-down. 

This also applies to agents always complaining about how busy they are for such little money; newsflash to them, what do you think writers do before they’re signed?”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/02/24/open-book-blog-hop-what-is-the-most-unethical-practice-in-the-publishing-industry/

2. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/02/26/the-mother-of-all-living/

3. https://litreactor.com/interviews/blood-in-the-gears-chuck-palahniuk-on-consider-this-and-the-craft-of-writing “Chuck Palahniuk hardly needs an introduction, especially at LitReactor. It’s no surprise to be getting a new book from Palahniuk—he typically releases one per year—but his new book, Consider This, marks the first time since 2004’s Stranger Than Fiction that Chuck has published a work of non-fiction. Consider This is a remarkable combination of writing advice, wisdom, and snapshots of America as seen through the readers Chuck has met while touring the country.

Consider This is something that longtime members of LitReactor, and the writing workshop at The Cult before that, have been waiting for since Chuck released a book-length series of essays exclusively to members on The Cult. (Essays, he reveals in Consider This, which were actually illegally bound, printed, and used as a guide in the MFA program at a big university.) And the final product does not disappoint. The culmination of lessons Chuck has compiled to make his writing hit harder, faster, and with maximum heart and head authority, he dispenses invaluable tips for writers looking to push further into that place where writing isn’t just consumed, but lived in and felt as deeply as a broken heart or a punch to the jaw.

Published on January 7th, 2020, Consider This is the beginning of a busy year for Chuck. Next, on April 28th, the Fight Club 3 complete graphic novel will be released, followed by the prose novel The Invention of Sound on September 8th.

Chuck was kind enough to answer some questions about Consider This.”

4. http://litreactor.com/columns/how-late-nights-are-killing-you-and-your-writing “Writers love the romance of an all-nighter. Oh, we’re so into our coffee and our quiet and our manic hammering away deep into the night.

Like most romantic things (showering together in a one-person tub shower, making out in a vehicle, dance in general), the all-nighter is a lot better in concept than it is in reality. It might be hurting you more than you think.

Not Me!

Let’s knock this out right away: Most folks will say some version of, “I only need about six hours to function.”

This is, scientifically speaking, complete bullshit.

There’s a statistically insignificant percentage of the population who won the genetic lottery, and these unicorns function perfectly on less than 8 hours of sleep. You are not one of these people. You’re more likely to be a pro basketball player, which you are not. You’re more likely to process Wendy’s into pure muscle, which you can’t. These people are rare enough that you’ve probably never met one. 

So why does everyone think they’re good on six?

In simple terms, when you’re tired, you don’t know how much you suck. Because you’re too tired to sense it. Think about the drunk guy who’s so drunk that he thinks he’s fine to drive. He just thinks he’s good to go because he’s so impaired that he can’t evaluate himself.” If I don’t get my sleep, I find myself nodding off while at my desk.

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Some Things More Serious:

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Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/02/25/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-166-themeprompt/

2.  https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2020/02/24/the-watch-keeper/

3. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/02/26/the-canvas-sky/

4. https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/fleeting/

5. https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/how-do-i-love-mosaics-let-me-count-the-ways/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://pitchwars.org/happy-book-birthday-to-the-sound-of-stars-by-alechia-dow/ “Don’t miss this spectacular debut novel… Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity? This road trip is truly out of this world! A beautiful and thrilling read for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth.

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for the love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.”

2. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/02/27/colleens-2020-book-reviews-james-witch-hunter-sophie-witch-hunter-by-author-k-s-marsden-ksmarsden/ “James Bennett is a Yorkshire lad, making the big move to Oxford to start university.
His ambitions involve getting a good education; impressing the Rugby Club; and not throttling his roommate. All perfectly normal drama, until Hallowe’en.

A girl’s murder throws James into the dangerous world of witches, and those that hunt them.”

3. https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/bookreview-different-seasons-by-stephen-king/ “This is a collection of four novella’s by Stephen King. Two of these stories I had already seen as movies prior to reading this collection, and two were entirely new to me.

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption is the story of a prominent banker, Andy Dufrense, who is convicted of killing his wife and sentenced to life in a notorious prison. The story depicts in fairly graphic detail, the boredom and hardship of life in prison with hardened and malicious criminals, some who are also rapists and prey on any they deem to be weak. Andy befriends another “lifer” called Red and, during the course of his journey to finally becoming a prisoner whom the prison manager and wardens rely on for financial services, becomes firm friends with Red. Andy learns how to survive and makes some interesting decisions about his life. This story provides a lot of insight into the different types and characters of men and how they react and plan in”

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Posted in blogs, Links, MG & YA

Five Links 2/27/2020 Traci Kenworth


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Five Links 2/1/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://killzoneblog.com/2020/01/further-reflections-on-the-mirror-moment.html “I enjoy getting emails and tweets from writers regarding the “mirror moment,” which is the subject of my book, Write Your Novel From the Middle. Recently I received two that I thought would make good fodder for a post (we at TKZ are always looking for good fodder).

The first email was a great question from someone who asked about the mirror moment in a long series. She used Sue Grafton’s alphabet series as an example. Should each book have a mirror moment? How can a series character go through so many changes?

I wrote back reminding her that there are two kinds of mirror moments. The first kind is about identity. It asks questions like, “Who am I? Why am I this way? What must I become?” It’s Rick in Casablanca.I think the mirror moment is one of the most powerful techniques. And we’re not talking of the character viewing their physical details in the frame.

2. https://megdowell.com/2020/01/25/12-simple-strategies-for-writing-more-in-less-time/

3. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2020/01/27/empowering-authors-around-copyright-with-rebecca-giblin/ “Empowering Authors Around Copyright With Rebecca Giblin

Your author career is in your hands. Publishers are not charities and even if you have an agent, you need to know about the importance and value of copyright so you can make informed and empowered decisions about your writing. If you’re an indie author, you still need to understand copyright, because when you sign up with online distributors, you are making choices around licensing.

In today’s show, I interview Rebecca Giblin about a recent study on publishing contracts, what clauses to watch out for, why this is so important for authors, plus the potential impact of AI on copyright.” I’ve been looking into contracts for some time now. She has a good list of what to look out for. You want to be prepared before you sign on that dotted line. Don’t let happiness sour to distaste because you didn’t look into things.

4. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/01/build-a-bridge-from-story-beginning-to-main-conflict/ “During one of my previous posts as a Resident Writing Coach, we talked about the importance of strong goals for helping our story move forward. But as we discussed in the comments of that post, our characters can start off with weaker—passive—goals, as they might not embrace the need to solve the story-level problem right away.

In fact, with many cases, the story problem and main conflicts don’t make an appearance until later in the story. Think of stories with thriller-type elements, where the protagonist can’t possibly know the villain is making evil plans in their secret lair until rumors, spy reports, or weird things occur later.

In those types of stories, our characters obviously can’t create strong goals to overcome the story problem right from the start because they’re not even aware the problem exists. In the meantime, bridging conflict kickstarts story momentum and grabs reader interest before the big story problem introduces the main craft.” Interesting to know!

5. https://megdowell.com/2020/01/27/no-one-starts-out-a-good-writer-the-blank-page/ “How do you “get good” at something you have always wanted to learn?

The answer itself isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think. Pretty much everyone, expert or not, agrees that in order to improve a particular skill, one must practice that skill. How often and for how long is where the debate comes in. But even that isn’t the barrier preventing most beginning writers from, well … beginning.

You see, in order to “get good,” you have to first “be bad.” In gentler terms, you pretty much have to start from the ground if you want to build up a skill or get better at a certain hobby. No one starts with an advantage from the beginning — not technically. You start knowing nothing. And one way or another, you learn.” She’s right. You go from rough draft to revision after revision just like your WIP.

Research & Fun Bits:

1. https://whenangelsfly.net/2020/01/25/what-percentage-of-novelists-earn-a-living-wage-nicholas-c-rossis/Of all the learned professions, literature is the most poorly paid. —Dr. Edward Eggleston, 1890 Lately, I have taken to answer publishing-related questions on Quora. Yesterday, I came across someone who asked, What percentage of novelists earn a living wage (i.e. $40,000-$50,000 a year)? After a little research, I came across some data that I […]” This is encouraging news!

2. https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/tell-me-you-have-some-of-these/ “I have file after file on my computer of story ideas, the beginnings of stories, notes for stories and novels… Please tell me you’re doing this too. Please tell me you aren’t letting story ideas just pass you by. I might not ever actually write any of these, but here are a few, just for fun, and just to show that sometimes an idea can come to you kinda sorta semi-formed, and maybe an idea is only:” I have notebooks, files, jars, boxes etc. Lol.

3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/stephen-king-oped-the-oscars-are-rigged-for-white-people/2020/01/27/ad29c4e8-407c-11ea-aa6a-083d01b3ed18_story.html “Discussions of arts and culture, like discussions of politics, have become increasingly acrimonious and polarized in recent years. Lines of belief are drawn with indelible ink, and if you step over them — wittingly or otherwise — you find yourself in the social-media version of the stocks and subject to a barrage of electronic turnips and cabbages.

I stepped over one of those lines recently, by saying something on Twitter that I mistakenly thought was noncontroversial: “I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” The subject was the Academy Awards. I also said, in essence, that those judging creative excellence should be blind to questions of race, gender or sexual orientation.”

4. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/01/how-to-make-an-amazing-book-trailer/ “So, you did the math and realized that your brand-new book could really benefit from having an awesome trailer. Good job!

While riveting writing is often enough to trap avid readers between two covers for a while, it takes much more to pique someone’s interest online. There are just too many distractions on the internet to bet all your chips on written promotion alone!

The problem, though, is that working on making a great book trailer can be rather tricky – especially if you have no previous experience with video marketing. Or trailers, for that matter.

But fret not, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we are going to talk a little bit about the most important elements you’ll need to consider for your fledgling trailer. And by the time we are done, I’m sure you’ll be brimming with ideas to bring”

5. https://stevelaube.com/what-will-you-read-today/ “Reading at least a few chapters of a book is a worthy goal for each day. One app I have recommends a half hour of reading. Seems doable to me!

Since I have at least a thousand books in my collection begging to be read, I’m attempting to be discerning as to where I spend my reading time. To wit, I went to a public library book sale over the weekend and confess I was tempted by Kitty Kelley’s old biography of Nancy Reagan.

I know, from reading a few, that the biographies Kelley wrote are gossipy and thorough. She will find and interview the boy who hated you in first grade. You do not, I repeat not, want to be one of her subjects.

I thought, Do I need to learn about every sin Nancy Reagan ever committed and what every enemy thought of her? She’s passed away; and her era is history, however nostalgic we may be for the Reagan Years. I instead purchased 10 Things Jesus Never Said and Why You Should Stop Believing Them by Will Davis, Jr.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2020/01/26/angel-messages-january-26-2020/

2. https://stevelaube.com/first-lines-are-kinda-important/ ““It was a cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

That arresting line begins one of the most famous novels of the twentieth century: George Orwell’s 1984.

The first sentence of any article or book is kinda important, even if it’s borrowed, like the first line of this blog post. Your first sentence should be well-written and striking, intriguing, promising, and/or inviting. It should draw in the reader like a carnival barker’s pitch or a Buzzfeed headline.

Some of the most famous lines in literature are opening sentences, such as “Call me Ishmael” (Moby Dick) and “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (A Tale of Two Cities).

To give you great examples and (one can hope) inspire your future first lines, below are eighteen opening lines. Can you identify the book and author? (Here’s a hint: All but two are from novels, and one is from an acclaimed children’s book).”

3. https://lithub.com/how-we-learned-to-start-fearing-the-bomb-again/ “When Jim Mattis went up on Capitol Hill to request funding for the low-yield Trident II, he was met with apprehension. Not because of the cost—the price tag for modifying a few dozen warheads was $65 million, a pittance in a defense budget exceeding $700 billion. Nor were many lawmakers concerned about this new weapon per se. Rather, they were concerned about the man who had the power to launch it. 

Arms control advocates had long argued that low-yield nuclear weapons were destabilizing because they lowered the threshold between conventional and nuclear war. They seemed to be—they were designed to be—more usable as weapons of war, and, therefore, some president, in a crisis, might feel more tempted to use them. The human factor was key: some presidents might resist the temptation; others might risk all. 

Donald Trump wasn’t the first president who inspired mistrust on this score. In 2003, after the”

4. http://booksbywomen.org/0ne-dangerous-liberty-by-mary-sheeran/ “We who write stories are damn brave.

We spin out people with whom we live in almost every moment of our lives. We create their world. They create ours. We take them places. They take us. We live with them, fuss over them, argue with them, let ourselves be surprised by them. We dive into their lives, and they swim in ours. Through drafts, through editing, through copyediting, through proofing of page proofs, until it’s finally over, and the book’s out there and other people are reading it – the characters are all ours. And just as readers are getting to know them, we have lost them. 

That’s when writers get lonely.

And that’s where I am now. Between books. Between universes. Letting go and thinking about what’s next, and nothing’s right.

I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself. I think I’m onto something, but it vanishes. Doesn’t work. Like a good lover you’ve loved for years, now gone for whatever reason, no one else really measures up. But someone will. It takes time.

I’d finished one book that took six years (Banished From Memory). It came out this past May. I’d been living with the Fletcher family, an acting family like the Barrymores, living it up in the movie star world of 1960 Hollywood with the blacklist as a villain in the background that grew larger and larger. Dianna was sixteen when the book started, famous, lovely, unhappy as teenagers are. She bumped into Bill. He made her unhappier until they both challenged each other as actors and as people. Then Dianna found out about Alice, and…”

5. http://dianahurwitz.blogspot.com/2020/01/mastering-scenes.html “Every story is broken down into scenes. A chapter may have more than one scene.

The most important takeaway is this: make every scene count. Don’t just kill time or add filler. A scene has a job to do.

It can be an action scene, a taut conversation, a love scene, a chase scene, or an introspective scene.

Make sure you scenes earn their page time.

Much of the material from my Story Building Block books is available in my blog posts and website along with free forms.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://www.djranch.org/2020/01/26/senryu-yester-me/

2. https://charmedchaos.com/2020/01/27/gypsy-rose/

3. https://butismileanyway.com/2020/01/27/ronovan-writes-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-290-jumpasp/

4. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/01/31/new-book-pieces-of-nietzsche-by-stuart-france/

5. https://syl65.wordpress.com/2020/01/31/friday-inspiration-to-know-him/

Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://mariacatalinaegan.com/2020/01/26/faerie-forged-by-l-r-braden/ “The paranatural community isn’t done with Alex. She’s been summoned to the fae court, and she’s got her hands full trying to prepare. But her date with the fae will have to wait. There’s been a death at the gallery, and the man she hoped would be a part of her future is the prime suspect.

Bitter enemies pull her into the middle of a paranatural war for territory that has her dodging police, swords, teeth, and claws—not to mention the truth. The deeper she digs, the more secrets she uncovers, and the less certain she is about the innocence of the one man she wanted to trust.

She thought she was done with murder and monsters, but she’ll have to enter the belly of the beast if she hopes to save her friend.”

2. https://blondewritemore.com/2020/01/28/bookreview-call-me-maybe-stephie-chapman-imcountingfoz-tuesdaybookblog/ “Did you have a crush on a pop star when you were a teenager?

Did you spend hours in your bedroom gazing longingly at a poster on your wall which showed your pop star crush looking gorgeous and hot?

I did. Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran and I had something going on back in the day. Simon was pinned up on my wall and my favourite poster was of him clad in army gear with beautiful bare feet. Thanks to him I would inspect all the feet of future boyfriends.

I spoke to him a lot on my wall, sang to him and had many dreams where we would meet in the future and fall in love. OMG – Stephie Chapman you read my teenage mind with this book!

In terms of intensity my crush on Simon was just like Cassie’s (the character in this book) crush on her heart-throb. My love for Simon was also at the ‘actual, fierce, slap-you-in-the-face, punch-you-in-the-gut’ level. In hindsight now I should have had a crush on John Taylor, the Duran Duran guitarist, who was much better looking back then, but that’s a different blog post and one titled, ‘what happens when you realise years later that you were crushing on the wrong pop star?’

This book by the wonderful and very talented Stephie Chapman helped me through a hangover at the weekend. Who needs paracetamol or Ibuprofen when you have a funny and uplifting romantic comedy to lose yourself in? It took me down memory lane as well which was another bonus.

Here’s the blurb:

What if you got a second chance with your first love?

What happens when you meet your teenage heart-throb – when you’re both all grown up?

When Cassie was fifteen, all she wanted was to marry Jesse Franklin, the bassist from her favourite band, Franko. Now she’s single, in her late twenties and wondering what happened to that teenage dream.

A chance encounter on Facebook soon leads to a transatlantic hook up, and soon, Jesse and Cassie are having a long-distance love affair spanning five thousand miles.

Cassie is on cloud nine – until she hears something that makes her think that Jesse might not be all that he seems. They say never meet your heroes – but what happens when you fall in love with them…?

Are Cassie and Jesse star crossed lovers, destined to be together? Or should Cassie have left her crush”

3. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/01/31/colleens-2020-book-reviews-everything-becomes-a-poem-by-author-james-w-gaynor-jamesgaynor48/ “The one thing I like about poetry books is that once read, you can return to them and find something new that speaks to your soul. Such is the case with “Everything Becomes a Poem.”

A couple of years ago, the author gifted me with a copy of this book. I’d read it, and for whatever reason, simply placed it on my bookshelf. After a recent move, I unpacked a box of books, rediscovering this gem. One glance, and I knew the muse demanded I reread the magic contained within its pages. Done!”

4. https://franceandvincent.com/2020/01/30/mister-fox-and-the-green-man/

5.

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

Writerly Things 2/23/2020: Editing Lists Traci Kenworth


Image by Dina Dee from Pixabay

Writerly Things 2/24/2020: Editing Lists

Traci Kenworth

After you make it through the first couple months of a new year (or decade), you start to lose track of your intentions for the year if you’re like me. It’s rush, rush to get through the holidays and then you begin to realize HOW many holidays there are when you have a website on recipes, lol. I needed to step back and take a look at things. Once again.

It’s Almost March. March!

Can you believe it? Where has time gone? Another race down the water hole, I guess. I’ve been so busy with dr. apts. the last few months< I neglected to take stock of how things were going. I’m back to editing now. But my lists of things to do seem to get longer and longer each day. The madness has began and I’ve begun to panic! Breathe. Breathe.

I need to remember my priorities. My deadlines. My editing. My stories. My family. Friends. Blogs. Life. Not necessarily in that order. Now, I know it all slips off-track for most of us for a while. The trick is getting it back under control. I fully intend to minimize the number of dr. apts. if I can help it. Although right now, I have to bide my time.

Blogs Need Maintenance as Do Stories.

Sometimes, one or the other has to take priority. A lot of times when I’m short on a blog, it’s because I’m working on my stories or editing. I AM a writer, after all therefore, I should spend some time writing. In the midst of it, I know the blogs sometimes suffer but I do my best to make it up the next week. I’m sure you all know what I mean if you’re writers. Or artists. Or doing blogging of any type along with another craft. If an artist didn’t spend time at his or her kiln, beautiful pieces would not be made.

If a quilter ignored their creation, they’d have nothing to show for their efforts. All of this is why most people we know think we sit at home, on the couch, eating cheesecake. Nope. Far from the daydream. Instead, our butt is to the grindstone, pounding out stories on the keys. My daughter draws in her spare time. She had a new cartoon go up over at https://www.adashofseasons.com called Retribution. It’s doing really well. She, too, has to prioritize. She works a forty-hour week so she, like many of you, is not always available to do what she WANTS. Instead, she has to focus on what she HAS to do to help support us.

So, Thoughts Tuned to What Needs Done.

A whole heck of a lot! I don’t know how or where I find the time to squeeze it all in. I mean, I’m given the same 24-hours that everyone else has. Do I use it better? Not always. There are days I’m efficient and days I downright suck. I imagine it’s the same for most of us. We do what we can. No guilt. Or at least, don’t pay attention to the guilt. It’s meant to derail us. Don’t let it.  Pick yourself up and get back out there. Take up the chant. Grab your seat or if you have one of those desks where you stand or run, do that. You can always, always begin again. It’s never too late. Unless you quit. Even then, if you come back at it late, you can still make progress. So, don’t get disheartened. Cheer up. Hugs. There’s the weekend ahead and a brand-new week to start ahead of us. So good luck!