Posted in blogs, Craft, fantasy, horror, MG & YA, Reading, Writing and Poetry

Five Links 11/2/19 Traci Kenworth

photo book

Five Links 11/2/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “Whenever I go out, strangers offer unsolicited compliments about some aspect of my appearance, usually my hair or clothing. From this fact alone, I might decide that people like my style. Perhaps I should write a book!

But aside from the fact I have no desire to write a style book, there are other reasons why starting this project doesn’t make sense for me:”

2. “One of the most frustrating things about being a “small” creator is that even when you aren’t getting any feedback on your work, you have to keep working.

Sometimes I will publish a blog post that will absolutely tank, and other than low numbers and a lack of engagement, I have absolutely no way of knowing that this is the case — but I especially don’t have any clue whatsoever as to why that particular post performed terribly in comparison to others.”

3. “Today’s writers enjoy some advantages that weren’t available to scribes in the past. One of those is the ability in word-processing programs to track changes and add comments to a document. This is especially helpful during the editorial process. But some writers use that functionality as they write. So I asked my clients if they do anything like that. Here’s what some said:

I use the Comment feature in MS Word’s “Review” menu all the time, both as a professor and as a dean. As an author, I also use it to dream when I can’t find the words or don’t have the time to tweak the words. I use it to note sources that I think might fit in a certain section. It gives me a space to place ideas that I want to find quickly and work over later. It is handy because I can delete all comments with one push of a button when I am getting a final draft ready to submit (Alan Ehler, author of How to Make Big Decisions Wisely).


5. “I fear this will be a short, sorrowful Wednesday post.

On Tuesday morning, my husband had to take our much-beloved cat, Miss Nina Garcia Benedict, to be euthanized. Her kidney disease had swiftly advanced from stage 2 to acute in two very short months. She was only 10 years old.

Nina owned us the way that a proper cat owns her people: with complete and utter domination. She was stunning to look at from her kitten days onward, and bore the fact with the humility of a Hollywood starlet.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “In my last post, I discussed some proven email list-building techniques. I will conclude this 3-part feature on email-based book marketing with some great tips by Mary Fernandez on creating the perfect email opt-in form, found on Persuasion Nation.”

2. “Fairy Witchcraft honors deities connected to the faeries. This includes the liminal Gods, the Lady of the Greenwood, the Lord of the Wildwood, The Hunter, and the Queen of Wind.

My faery craft authority, Morgan Daimler, explains:”




Some Things More Serious:



3. “This isn’t a typical Halloween post, but it is about hallowed ground. The original meaning of Halloween is All Hallows Eve, the holy evening before All Saint’s Day on November 1. The fun side of the holiday came from pagan autumn rituals. In this post, I return to the hallowed side of the holiday.

On our trip to New York earlier this month, my husband and I and his mother took an afternoon to visit the 9/11 Museum on the site of the former World Trade Center. It was a beautiful sunny autumn afternoon, and people wandered the plaza which seemed remote from the bustling traffic around it.”

4. “When we were creating the Silent Eye’s mentored correspondence course, we envisaged a three-year journey through a mental, emotional and spiritual landscape which would evolve as the Companion’s learning and depth of ‘being’ increased.

This landscape was to be internal – an active, meditative experience, whose presence would extend into the daily life as learning of true cause and effect deepened, and different aspects of modern living were brought into powerful harmony. In the true and ancient meaning of the word, this would become a very magical journey.”


Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. “My tenth and final pick for The A.N. 10 is all about horror, just in time for Halloweek! (Let’s be honest; Halloween gets a full month from me at least, but ‘Hallomonth’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.) This post is a favorite for several reasons. First, it’s a glimpse into my theory on horror, which might not be quite what you’d expect. Second, it yet again showcases my fangirl powers, which is really just me shouting from the rooftops about books and authors I love, which I firmly believe all readers should do. Third, one of my literary heroes shared the post and said nice things about it (and me!), which made not just my day but my year. No kidding.” Ann Rice read this and another post of Annie’s. What a wonderful share for her to do!

2. “I recently finished the beast of a novel It by Stephen King. (Most people know it as ‘that one about the scary clown.’) Finding a book that will scare me again is sort of a white whale for me. I love being scared. Horror movies often scare me because they have the advantage of jump-frights and suspenseful music, etc. Books are at a disadvantage in the fear department, because if it begins to scare you, you can just put it down until you’re in a different mood. (Few people will pause a movie and finish it days later.) The fear has to be utterly insidious to stick with you from reading session to session, and there’s no such thing as a startle when you’re reading words on a page. (BOO doesn’t work; I’ve tried that one.)”




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “o, a momentary humblebrag in which I note Wanderers was mentioned at the Washington Post yesterday as some of the year’s best horror — which is a kind declaration and I’m obviously beaming to be in such good company. But! I didn’t actually give the post much of a read yesterday, as it’s been a bit busy around these parts, and again, while I’m super pleased to be in such wonderful company… I also note that all too often, genre lists, especially horror, tend to exclude writers who are not, well, white dudes.

But, that sucks, because it misses so much.

So, here are some of my favorite scary reads (horror, or horror-adjacent) of late that white dudes did not write. (I do not guarantee these were all published in 2019, mind you, and I apologize for this temporary breach.) These are hasty, capsule reviews, as I’m buried under stuff right now (er, not literally, OR AM I), so forgive the brevity, and just buy these books.”





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

On the Oddities Discovered while Researching…

Italiano: Corpo di San Pio nella cripta della ...
Italiano: Corpo di San Pio nella cripta della chiesa di S. Pio da Pietrelcina a San Giovanni Rotondo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researching Takes Writers to Some Odd Info…

Traci Kenworth


I never know what piece of information I’m going to have to look into while writing stories. Just this past week, I learned about Incorruptible, those are bodies that appear saintly after death such as St. Bernadette—1844-1879 and St. Charbel—1898. Of course, both are known religious figures, but what I’m referring to is the strange phenomenon associated with them after each was exhumed/or about to be. In medieval times, Christian saints were exhumed to canonization for sainthood or sometimes for financial gain. Bones became powerful relics, talismans, for churches, cathedrals, and chapels. Worshippers were drawn to them for healing, forgiveness, and redemption.

The bodies were often put on display under glass where some remain even today. Usually, their skin is discolored or broken down some. Sometimes, they are enhanced by wax. Incorruptibility, actually, has occurred in those never buried as well. Although, someone embalmed cannot be counted as belonging to such. It is not known what causes the strange effect. Often, sweet smells known as the odor of sanctity, no apparent rigor mortis, stigmata, or martyrdom wounds that bleed, movement, and physical warmth long after their death are noted. The most recorded, however, is an inner radiance of the body.

In St. Bernadette’s case, over the years she was exhumed—1909 and 1925—she retained a remarkable preserved state. St. Charbel’s, a Lebanese hermit, corpse which both sweated and bled was discovered in the St. Maron monastery in Annaya, Turkey after dazzling lights lit up his graves a couple months after his death. Upon his canonization by Pope Pious XI in 1925, Charbel’s grave lit up like the sun. The brightness didn’t fade for 45 days afterwards. Today, a bloodlike liquid laps from the body onto a cloth kept for the purpose and has thought to have been the cause for many a healing.

I had been looking for details on what to do in a battle scene with certain corpses unearthed from their graves that had not quite deteriorated as they should and even gave off a glow. What I’ll end up putting on the pages probably will be no more than a sentence or two but my research led me to a place I didn’t expect or know much about. I think I’ve heard about both saints in the past, but I didn’t really delve into their stories until it became significant to what I was writing. I’ve researched a lot of different supernatural phenomena such as ghosts, devils, and angels, among other more tangible things, but I’m never quite prepared when I hit upon something unusual that just might fit into my storyline. It’s kind of like striking gold.

What are some of the odd things you’ve ran across in your own research? Do you believe in Incorruptibility? Why or why not?

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

Learning as You Go

Learning as You Go

Traci Kenworth


So are you one of those authors that wade deeply into research before they write a single word? Or do you do enough research to get you by and then continue to do so as you go? I’m one of the latter. I can hear the gasps out there. Lol. I believe firmly in research but sometimes you got to get the words down and then go back for further investigation. This isn’t to suggest that you shirk your responsibility to study things. Face it, readers are much more savvy these days. They know things you might not think.

Translations. That a certain restaurant/place was written wrong. Or an entire tribe/nation’s background is different from what the book proposes. I’m probably from the fool me generation in, as in I trust the author not to make these mistakes, but it happens. I’m not here to say it’s okay to dupe your reader, in fact, most of the time they find out the truth in some way and then it could be hard to sustain a story’s believability from the same author again. No, I’m about to tell how I do my own research into things.

First, of course, comes setting. Unless your creating your own world (and even then you need to know the rules of it), you must know your background. I personally, like to make up towns/cities/places etc. I enjoy the challenge. Of course, I usually base it to some degree on somewhere I’ve been or would like to go. I build the houses, neighborhoods, people, pets, and so on as needed in my mind. Sometimes from putting photos together to get the type of building I want. Other times from a description someone gives me as they talk about the state in question. Ideas abound about us, but we have to ground them in fact.

So after I choose my residence, I study my characters. What sort would live there? What classes? What nationality? I love to reflect on how America’s a melting pot, thus I try and include all races, poor and rich, young and old. I even research what kind of pets they would have. It’s important to get the right fit for your character. I.E. A little old lady wouldn’t normally go for an active, horse-of-a-dog. Spend some time getting the feel of your families. Their needs, their wants, their handicaps. It will make for a solider base to them.

Again, however, you can delve into who they are as you go along. For instance, right now, one of my characters belongs to a cult, though she’s not aware of such due to their brainwashing methods. Now, when I began writing, I knew my character but I didn’t know about groups like these. Sure, I’ve heard, read, and watched TV about them, but I needed to go deeper into this to pull the character off. She’s complicated and the more I write her, the more research I do into who she is, what she wants, and the triggers that manipulate her. It’s a scary world to look into, but it has to be done if she’s to remain true to what she represents.

My point is, you don’t always know every little detail, every little twist that you’re going to take along the way in a story. Therefore it’s okay to start writing the first draft and then go back and explore what you need. If I spent six months pouring through books before I wrote the title of my manuscript, it would be in trouble. You need to stretch your wings, and as you’re doing so, read into the area in question, highlight ideas you’d like to go through further. Just have everything gelled together before you send the book off. Check. Check. Check your facts. Even writing in the same region as I do, there is often something I need to look up. I don’t hesitate to do so, it could save me pie in the face in the end.