Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 21-27, 2018

This will be the last Tipsday before #NaNoWriMo! Once again, where did the time go?!

Just to be clear, for the month of November, I will be desperately attempting to write 50,000 words of a new novel project. There will be no curation. I have, however, decided to do quick check in posts, once a week, so the blog will not be totally inactive. More on that in this weekend’s next chapter update.

In the meantime, enjoy some informal writerly learnings!

Harrison Demchick stops by Helping Writers Become Authors: four things writers can learn from making a movie.

Kim Bullock wonders, is resurrecting a shelved manuscript a good idea or a waste of time? Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal wants you to identify your core story and values. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft shares some thoughts on originality in fiction. Writers in the Storm

Amy Shojai shares seven steps to publishing success from an accidental writer. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Sherrilyn Kenyon: tips for long-term author success. The Creative Penn

Jami Gold helps you take your readers on a journey with storytelling.

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten fantasy tropes.


Aliette de Bodard stops by Terribleminds to discuss cannibalizing a draft (or, the art of rewriting).

Gabriela Pereira interviews Melanie Moyer for DIY MFA radio: the imaginary friend as narrator.

Manuela Williams offers five tips for writing a helpful critique. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle shares six ways you can bluff killing your protagonist. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: why you (actually) don’t suck and what to do when the abyss stares back.

Sarah Laskow explains how writers map their imaginary worlds. Atlas Obscura

RL Goldberg plots our steps toward creating a trans literary canon. The Paris Review

The new Outlander season 4 trailer—eeeeee!


And that was Tipsday. I know, I’ll be in withdrawal, too, but I’ll have enough NaNo to distract me 🙂

Don’t miss out on the final thoughty Thursday until December. I’m going out (just on a break) with a bang!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.



Review of Blaze Ignites by JL Madore

As I mentioned in our interview, I’d worked with Jenny in an online critique group.  I was so pleased to hear that she moved ahead with her novel and was eager to read the results.

The Amazon blurb:

BLAZE IGNITES blends strong, clever women and tough, sexy men in a fast paced, Blaze full page covervolatile cocktail of action, seduction, and wicked humour.

“Destiny my ass.” Jade Glaster refuses to believe the Fates rule her life. Orphaned after an attack by Scourge soldiers, a young Jade vows never to be powerless again. Once grown and strong, wielding the affinities of fire and healing, Jade protects innocents as an enforcer for her world’s elite policing agency—The Talon.

When an emissary mission to reinstate a race of exiled Elves brings Galan into her life, Jade finds herself overwhelmed by new passions, some welcome, some not. Although Galan’s antiquated views on women offend her to her heated core, when the Scourge attack his family, she helps him navigate the outside worlds he knows nothing about—the magical Realm of the Fair and, stranger still…the modern streets of Toronto.

Through their sensually charged pursuit of justice, Jade discovers that when dealing with the Fates—destiny is never random.


My thoughts:

Jade Glaster doesn’t think much of fate.  Her life has been a literal shit storm to this point (in fact, the series was originally called the Shit Storm Survivors, which I now note has been tactfully changed to Scourge Survivors) and if this was fate’s doing, Jade wants none of it.

Her Talon code name is Blaze because of her red hair and fiery temper, which often results in the unleashing of a literal blaze of power.

One of Jade’s laments at the outset of the novel (aside from the Scourge murdering her parents), is her apparent frigidity. When her duties for Castain, chief of the Fae gods, bring her face to face (and crotch to crotch—had to be said) with Galen, however, Jade’s problem ceases to be one of not reacting to men, but of her overwhelming reaction to Galen.

This is not what she needs right now. She has a mission to complete.

The writing is taut and gives the reader Jade’s attitude with both barrels. I like the ‘tude and the sexy bits, which are well-done. I only have a few issues with Blaze Ignites, and most of those are matters of personal taste (word choice, creative decisions) which other readers will likely not cavil at.

Events begin with a bar fight involving an Otterkie that is never mentioned again. Readers often expect details like this to have a pay off somewhere later in the novel. It’s a loose thread that should be woven in.

Though conflict, physical and otherwise, abounds, the novel takes a while to pick up the pace. When things swing into high gear, the author keeps them at a high pitch with few exceptions.

I have to point out, for a supposedly “kick-ass” heroine, Jade gets her ass kicked more often than not.  This I did have a bit of a problem with, especially given the denouement of the novel (which I will not give away).

It just seemed to me that Jade shouldn’t have had her ass handed her or to be in need of rescue as often as she did. Yes, Galen needs a maiden in distress, but there might have been another way around this.

Blaze Ignites is a solid contender in the paranormal romance and urban fantasy sub-genres and suitable for fans of Laurel K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Readers of Charles de Lint will find Madore’s work enjoyable as well.

A good first novel in a new series that I’m sure we’ll see more of in the future.

My rating: four out of five stars.


About the author:

JL MadoreJL Madore, lover of family, animals and chocolate, spends her days writing fantasy romance and paranormal erotica. Strangely enough, she hadn’t considered being a writer until her writing muse found her lying in a hammock in a Panamanian rainforest.Blaze Ignites, the first installment in the five novel Scourge Survivor Series, was born out of that tropical haven. Though she didn’t actually see any Elves or Weres running through the trees or swimming in the waterfall grottos their voices came to her there and had a story to tell.

To learn more, you can follow her at:

Nine (plus) world building resources

Open any book on writing fantasy or science fiction and you’ll find a section on world building.

Cover of "The Craft of Writing Science Fi...

Cover via Amazon

Four cases in point:

Bova writes a section on “Background in Science Fiction” in which he discusses the uses of background (back story and world building elements), offers a complete short story as an example, and then practical suggestions on how to apply the techniques he’s discussed in the context of the story.  Bova makes reference to the greats of SF (Bradbury, Niven) as well as to literary works to round out his advice.

Card also has a chapter on “World Creation” which he summarizes thusly:

How to build, populate, and dramatize a credible, inviting world that readers will want to share with you.

Kinda speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Killian writes a chapter on “Creating Your Fictional World,” including the following topics: A symbolic reason; A sense of what is natural; Parallel worlds; and Fantasy worlds.

Gerrold’s book contains several chapters on world building: Setting the stage; To build a world; Detailing the world; Building aliens; Believability; and Fantasy worlds.

Once again, every book on writing SF or Fantasy will include a section on world building in one form or another.  The more you read about it, the more you learn and the better you get at this whole world-building thing.

Books specifically about world building

I’m going to start with a book by fellow Canadian Authors Association member, Sandra Stewart.  She offers workshops in world building based on this publication.  Go check out her site for more information, or to get a copy of her World-building Workshop Workbook.

Sandra’s philosophy is to build from the micro to the macro and she gets into all the details from arts and entertainment, through calendar, to war and wizards.  She covers common pitfalls too.

Three more from Writer’s Digest:

If you’re interested in creating planets and star systems, this is the book for you.  In fact, I’d recommend the whole of the Science Fiction Writing Series, which delves in-depth into Space Travel and Time Travel among other subjects.

Ochoa and Osier cover some topics, like space stations, spaceships, civilizations, and other technological jumping-off points that some of the other writers don’t treat in quite the same way.

Contributors include Terry Brooks and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  As detailed as the above references are regarding the creating of a science fiction world/universe, this book is just as thorough with respect to the creation of a fantasy world.  It covers law and commerce, costume, myths and legends, and castles among other topics.  It’s a great starting point for research.

And finally:

Though this book might more appropriately belong in the books on writing SF and Fantasy (above), Scott fills more than half of it, pp 27-120, with various aspects of world building.  Like Stewart’s World-Building Workshop Workbook, I’d recommend Scott’s book because it offers a woman’s perspective on the techniques of world-building.  Further, Scott was Harvard-educated, which makes her perspective even more unique.  Her apology, “A brief defense of Science fiction, or why does someone who went to Harvard write this stuff anyway?” is both a humorous and insightful look at how SF is really a way to deal with our essential discomfort about change.

If I’d wanted to go tub-diving in my basement storage, I could have come up with half a dozen more books to recommend, but it takes something really special to make me dare the Rubbermaid jungle 🙂  Yes, I’m a book-addict.  Ask my husband, and if you do, have a beer ready for him to cry into!

Do you have any books on or containing sections of world-building that you’d recommend?  Share in the comments so everyone can benefit!

As a friend of mine says … heading for Bedfordshire.