Month: December 2017

Writing Links 12/18/17

Where Genres Collide


Writing Links 12/18/17

Traci Kenworth


  1. How do your characters relate to each other?
  2. Norway characters.
  3. Filling in the gaps, something I worry about.
  4. On writing.
  5. Tips on ending your series.


  2. This week’s science in books.
  3. I’ve been writing companion novels for the past series I just did and didn’t realize it. I just thought they were called series as well. Oh, what we learn, lol.
  4. Interview with the author of The Serpent King.
  5. It may be more important than ever to give readers an opportunity to envision and imagine through the words on the page.
  6. My year has been bad as you might know if you’ve been reading these posts for a while. I had a tornado hit my home in July and then again in Oct. My kids and I were in a car accident…

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Propelling Your Blog As The Next Hot Ticket Item

The Little Mermaid

Eureka! I’ve finally discovered the secret to blogging success! The good news is that I can’t wait to share the magic potion with all of you! Whoot!


Let’s get started…

What is ‘blogging success’ at the outset? Is it something achievable? Is it quantifiable? For me, a successful blog is one that is loved by all. A blog that is pampered in its niche attracts thousands of visitors, garners hundreds of likes and is home to a never-ending string of comments. A successful blog stands out from the rest because, well, it is amazeballs. But what does it take for an amateur to get there? Did it cross your mind at some point in time that those established bloggers were starters, like you? Yeah? Good!

1. Passion

Passion is the key to unlock the door to blogging success. When you blog, you have to do it out of love…

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Pipe & Thimble Publishing and Bookstore

Pipe & Thimble Book Store is founded on the principles of Richard and Peg Austin’s doll house miniature business in the late 70’s by the same name. We strive to treat all authors, artisans, and other indies with respect, fairness, and integrity. We created a haven that returns to the original roots of storytelling with a focus of community, bringing forth those voices that are so essential, and yet so often unheard.

​Along with providing a platform for and promoting indie authors, local handmade artisans, musicians, and others within the indie circle, we also offer a place to further their own reach within the South Bay, as well as working with local schools, charities, libraries, and other local business on joint events that support reading, learning, and community.

​As independent authors and artisans ourselves, we know the struggles that accompany getting product in stores and in a way that benefits the author/maker. We also know the difficulty of finding locations that work with those in the indie circle for events.

S. A. Gibson is proud to have his work featured by Pipe & Thimble. I’ve enjoyed appearing on author panels there. Please visit the store and spread the word.


Pipe & Thimble
24830 Narbonne Avenue
Lomita, California

Things I Learned From Signing A Trad-Pub Contract

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

You may remember how Azure Fire Publishing has both hired me to be their Editor-in-chief and asked me to publish my fantasy/sci-fi books with them.

I now have some more exciting news to share: Patakis, the largest Greek publishing house, has bought in advance my next 3 children’s books and will publish them next year in Greece. Which means I am officially a hybrid author, as they also offered me a cash advance (a small one, but hey, it’s the principle, right?)

The new books continue the adventures of the little boy, his dog, and a few new cast members including a dragon (some Musiville favorites also make guest appearances). Their titles are Valiant Smile, Whisker Smile, and Lola’s Smile. All books will now be officially part of the Mystery Smiles series (the old name, Niditales, will now be phased out).

The first book will…

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Starving Artist, A Writer’s Fate?


I confess, I occasionally fantasize about writing a book which completely panders to an audience just for fame and money. However, will the Faustian bargain result in having to discard my personal pleasure in storytelling, can I have it both ways. We all know of big best selling books we consider crap and are perhaps a bit jealous. I jokingly threaten my family about “doing it” one day.

Well, upon reflection, there have been some wonderful and noted authors who began by writing ‘junk.’ Raymond Chandler and John O’hara come to mind. Even Jacqueline Susan and Harold Robbins, while not exactly respected, are acknowledged for writing some of the best guilty pleasures around.

I want to discuss the conflict between struggling as a starving artist and selling out. We writers who strive to be full-time authors must make decisions each day about how to develop our art and market our products. We began as artists because we loved the art and thought bringing our visions to life would be fulfilling.

I asked author Diane Morrison about this question. Here were her thoughts, “I think if you don’t love what you’re writing, your reader will be able to tell. So I think the first order of business is to create a story you really want to write. Then try to get someone’s attention from there. I think that the truth is that good writing shines through. Everyone said Stephen King was a hack but now his book on writing is used in almost every major writing course. Eventually, people will see good writing for what it is – IF they see it. And that’s the rub. I don’t judge anyone else for their “Faustian bargains,” as you put it, but I know I couldn’t do any justice to something I didn’t want to write. I’ll just have to try to get noticed in other ways.”

Greg Alldredge gave me some feedback, “Your question made me think. Forty-five years ago, the books I read were considered crap by many. In my younger years, the likes of Steinbeck and Hemingway never appealed to me. I couldn’t connect with their style of writing. The other day I found a blog post, Hemingway only wrote on a fourth-grade level, yet I found his writing difficult to read and honestly boring. “

“I look back at the books I did read, they were popular modern-day swashbuckling adventures. Alistair MacLean caught my attention early, though I would guess many would consider his books pandering to a certain audience. In me, he found that willing audience. You can’t argue with success, at least seventeen of his books were made into movies all with big-name casts. When I was little older, I discovered science fiction and fantasy. Before e-books, I was a member of the science fiction book club. Many of the writers I discovered in my early 20’s were simply because the covers looked cool. Later I found out some of them were giants in science fiction writing. It was the 80’s what did I care.”

“I don’t know, I’m sure many people consider my books pandering to someone, even though I didn’t mean for them to be. If a writer didn’t appeal to an audience, they wouldn’t be a writer for long, or they would end up like Melville, a critical failure but wildly successful a hundred years later. I didn’t start writing to become a millionaire. The chances of that were slim to none when I started. I started writing because I had an idea in my head, that stewed for over a year. When I sat down and wrote “Lights in the Night” I did it in less than a month because I had already played it in my head for so long. I wrote the book for an audience of one, me. A few people have read it, some of them liked it. I hope more find it, and like it. I do have a dream, of living like Arthur C Clarke did. Finding an island, with a hut nestled on a beautiful beach, however, mine will need high-speed Internet. That is how I want to write. I’m going to look for one in Cambodia soon.”

J. I. Rogers told me, “I think most writers have the ‘when I get famous’ dream, but, for most, it has caveats. Mine includes maintaining complete control of the work and not sacrificing what I believe to be its integrity for the sake of sales… or box office appeal. This may be why I never see conventional fame.”

“Deliberately writing something, or creating something with wide appeal is often referred to as ‘selling out’ and for some it is, but in the light of day (with bills to pay) perhaps a better way to phrase it would be ‘bread and butter’ work. Is it a ‘Faustian bargain’ to create something with wide appeal and not pursue the purity of your dream at all times? Agatha Christie is rumored to have hated Hercule Poirot. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle despised Sherlock Holmes… The popularity of the characters kept them writing the stories.”

“History is filled with writers, poets, and artists who have sold their skills to feed themselves – patrons seldom just threw money at talent without expecting something in return. As an artist who works on commission, I have done this too.”

As writers are engaged in a profession, we all need to think about how to successfully market our creative products. The future for writers is a continuing juggling act between retaining loyalty to artistic purity and attempting to achieve success in business. Each author must make the personal choice on how much energy to place in each aspect of their career and art.

J. I. Rogers:

Diane Morrison:

Greg Alldredge:

S. A. Gibson:

Writing Links 12/11/17

From Traci Kenworth

Where Genres Collide


Writing Links…12/11/17

Traci Kenworth


  1. Austrian characters.
  2. The legend of La Befana.
  3. Jenny’s interview with The Author’s Show.
  4. The gods and goddesses at war.
  5. Christmas villains.


  1. A MG reader tells what she looks for in books.
  2. MG books with science in them.
  3. My first book had a wake-up scene, lol. I would also like to see a little more reality for disabled people as in no magical cures. We can be just as happy as anybody else.
  4. On surviving rejection.
  5. How the picture book grew from a cake-eating monster.

Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. It’s all in the details.
  2. On getting your right back to your stories.
  3. On habit words. One of mine is so, lol. I even find it creeping into this blog sometimes.


  1. On acquiring another agency.
  2. Using personality tests to create characters.

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Characters You Can’t Love


We writers sometimes find ourselves writing a character that we despise. In order to include tension and conflict, we must introduce people into our settings who disagree, and are sometimes disagreeable. We can revel in our ability to create people, or it can be an accident. So, I want to think about what happens when we create evil characters.

Often a negative character is a vital part of our storytelling. A tale with powerful antagonist is a common feature in fiction writing that has an action or adventure feel. Even stories that attempt to portray realistic events in the world can use negative individuals. In thrillers or suspense stories, there are often villains who represent criminal intent and actions. The gangster, dictator, or bandit is recognizable as a character that represents real people in the past present or future. Even a dragon in a story can sometimes represent evil.

On the other hand, sometimes our protagonist is not perfect. We sometimes can write a main character who has flaws that can drive them to do unfortunate or bad actions. And, we writers, from time to time, are surprised by the actions taken by our characters. We may intend for someone to be positive and a good, but they take a different path as the story develops and may not be as positive an influence as we thought when designing them.

I asked other writers if they write characters they despise? Fellow writer, Stephanie Barr, shared her thoughts, “I do. I have characters I despise and some that exasperate me. The former are my villains, the latter I find ways to grow fonder of them as I learn more about them.”

“My protagonists and most of their fellows I love because a novel is a long time to spend with someone you really don’t love. It’s not that they don’t have flaws or aspects that are frustrating. It’s that it’s a whole package and some of their quirks and foibles are part of what makes me love them.”

I asked Jeanette O’Hagan her opinion, “Hmmm yes. I do write characters I despise – because they are petty, vindictive, cruel, arrogant, abusive – though if I’m not careful, I begin to sympathize with them 😉 Not their actions, but perhaps the reasons behind why they act that way, why they’ve become the person they are – and then they may change – have a character arc of their own or perhaps show flashes of humanity amid the general nastiness. I think the bigger and more important an antagonist is, the more multi-faceted they should be.”

As authors, we have the power to create our desired world in the pages of our story. Perhaps, when we create a negative character, we can take satisfaction when we are finally able to plot their demise. Even figuring out the cruelty of their end. We can be merciful, or give them their just desserts. For writers, this may be a form of self-therapy. What your opinion?

The Complete Guide to Ebook Distribution: A Reedsy Infographic

Nicholas C. Rossis

I have shared a number of infographics designed by Reedsy and I always welcome the opportunity to share more. An opportunity which arose again a couple of days ago, when I discovered an amazing guide to Ebook distribution. The title is not clickbait–the post really presents everything you need to know about Ebook distribution. With CreateSpace closing its e-store (although it will continue to publish books for now) and Pronoun shutting down, I know that many authors are exploring other options.

So, here is the Infographic that sums up nicely Reedsy’s post, although I strongly advise you to have a look at the original post for further information.

Reedsy Infographic-ebook distribution | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

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Amazon Steps Up Its Antifraud Efforts

Nicholas C. Rossis

Fake review - Pinnochio | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image:

Since 2015, Amazon has been actively trying to stomp out scammers exploiting authors. As I first reported in 2015, foremost among these were fake reviews, but a couple of months ago it upped the ante by filing arbitration complaints against five individuals who it says offered services to KDP author and publishers aimed at helping them manipulate the reading platform for financial gain. Amazon is demanding a combination of injunctive relief, account termination and, in some cases, triple damages.

As Publishers Weekly reports, Amazon alleges that five people used a number of prohibited strategies to manipulate customers reviews and worked to inflate sales and royalties. Amazon essentially charges that a handful of individuals worked to create fake reviews for their books and others’ in addition to attempts to manipulate Amazon systems that count book sales and the royalties paid to authors via its subscription reading service.

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