Tag Archives: writing

No Wasted Ink Writers Links


Welcome back!  I apologize for going a bit astray this week.  I found plenty of writing-related articles that I found very interesting, but few of them are general writing tips.  I hope you’ll indulge me this one time.  Enjoy!

We Need to Destroy the “Strong Female Character”


Incident at a Mausoleum: A True Story

4 Book Promotion Strategies That No Longer Work

Self Publishing with CreateSpace

Sleeps With Monsters: Where Are the SFF Stories About Pregnancy and Child-rearing?

The Connection Between Writing and Sleep

Typeface based on the calligraphy from the Lithuanian declaration of independence

Why the Composition Book

A Timeslippy Review of the Quickpad Pro

Author Interview: CJ McKee

Author CJ McKee has been writing short stories and doing other forms of art and music since he was young. “Creativity is utmost in my endeavors.” Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author CJ McKeeGreetings! I’m C.J. McKee and I’ve been writing or doing some sort of creative thing for many years. Music, art, you name it which includes making costumes and going to fantasy/sci-fi conventions! I love to dabble in new things!

When and why did you begin writing?

I first got the writing bug way back in grade and high school. However, I didn’t pick it up again, and more seriously until much later. I always loved dragons since as far back as I can remember. In literature, I felt they were never written as anything other than a pest or dangerous being. I wrote my own version, a short story starting in the late 90’s and continued to build on the “realms” until it became a published novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The moment I sat down to write novels. I wrote short stories before that but hadn’t seriously considered publishing. Once I set my mind to it and had them edited and published I knew.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Blood and Bane: The Dragon Sage Chronicles is about the Realms ruled by Dragons. All who reside on the land are under the Sovereign Dragons’ rule and must not defile the Land nor harm the balance of the Realms of Arydd. If they do, they suffer the wrath of the Dragons. The Dragon Sage. a wizard of sorts is the liaison between those in the realms and the Sovereigns. He must train others in the art of magic in order to help watch over the humans. For there are those who wish to defile the land for their own selfish needs.

What inspired you to write this book?

Dragons typically are seen or written as being hoarders, dangerous, deadly and a general nuisance. I wanted to portray them in a more positive light. I have loved dragons all my life and wanted to put a positive spin on them. Additionally, how many dragons do you know who are rulers over humans and other life forms?

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’d like to think I have my own, third person with some inner dialogue of the characters. I’ve been told my writing reminds them of Christopher Paolini (Eragon).

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The story revolves around family ties and dark magicks. Those who’re bad guys (evil wizards) are called banes. The Dragon Sage Chronicles refers to the main character, Galddor who is a liaison between the Realms and the Sovereign Dragons.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Don’t take the world around you for granted.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know or events in your own life?

No, however, the amber eyes of the dragons is in honor to my dog who passed away in 2001.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Ray Bradbury. His writing is one of my favorite styles to read. His descriptions are beyond compare and his ideas are incredible. JRR Tolkien for the fantasy aspect, of course. He created the world that forever changed fantasy novels for years to come.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Ray Bradbury. I felt he was my boyhood hero because of his ability to write a science fiction world that spoke to me. Also, I met him and saw one of his lectures many years ago. A bright, enthusiastic man who saw the world through the eyes of wonder and potential.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I did. I dabble in many styles of art and had this idea for the cover that I thought conveyed the amber eyes of the dragons as well as their ever watching gaze on the land.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read, learn and absolutely get an editor for your writing if you intend to publish. It is well worth it!!!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy the world I have created. May you watch the second moon rise with someone you love…

dragonsagecoverpart4-199x300C.J. McKee
Whitefish, Montana


Blood and Bane: The Dragon Sage Chronicles


No Wasted Ink Writers Links


Welcome to another Monday of Writers Links here at No Wasted Ink.  As usual, I have plenty of general writing tips for you to look through, along with a couple of science fiction and historical fiction articles of interest.  Pour yourself the caffeinated beverage of your choice and have a read.  I hope you find the topics interesting.

Tubes of Thunder: The Medieval Cannon

The Write Way

Young writer making big exploits

How to Achieve A Visually Attractive Twitter Feed

Ask the Authors: A Look at the Writing Process

Do I Need A Business License To Self Publish My Book?

We visited Amazon and Barnes & Noble bookstores to see who does it better — and the winner is clear

Learning about character introductions with Star Wars – The Last Jedi

SpaceX Hid a Second, Secret Payload Aboard Falcon Heavy, And It Sounds Amazing

How to Write Black Characters (when You are Not Black)

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links


Happy Monday!  This week I have ten new writing links that are sure to please.  Most are general writing tips, but there are a few that will aid your writing research.  Pour yourself a cup of joe and sit back for some good reading.  Let me know which your favorites are. 

Nursing Misconceptions in Fiction

4 (Possible) Reasons Why We Write

Don’t Let Your Dialogue Stray From Your Characters

How to Banish Interruptions from Your Writing Time

Is Your Novel All Premise and No Plot?

Talking About Writing Income, or Not

How to kill off your characters without even trying

Why Do I Need an MFA? THIS….exactly this

Write The Book, Save The World

From 2000 to 300—Why You’re Writing Too Much

DIY Writing Retreats by Morven Westfield

writing retreat

Advice on how to find time to write is invariably the same: “Place butt in chair” or “Make time” or “Set your alarm a couple of hours early.”

What if you’ve tried all that, and it isn’t working? Stealing an hour a day is too segmented for you to write with any sense of flow or rhythm. Stealing a few minutes to write while you watch your child’s soccer game isn’t productive because you’re too distracted by the noise, the glances to see how she’s doing, and the threatening buzz of yellowjackets.

How about a writing retreat? Imagine sitting down to write with your breakfast and later getting up from writing to refill your coffee cup, stretch, or answer the call of nature. Imagine being able to ask the other writers for ideas any time you’re stuck. Imagine walking into the kitchen and just blurting out “So, do zombies freeze? I’m thinking of having my characters escape to Alaska…” and getting answers instead of strange looks.

Think you can’t afford the time or money? Do you have a weekend? Do you have writer friends who want the opportunity to buckle down to write? Organize a retreat yourself. You don’t need a formal schedule, speakers, coaching, or workshops to benefit.

Search online vacation rental websites for a place. Ask friends and family if they know anyone who has a rental property available.

Encourage writers to carpool. They save money, have the opportunity to chat with another writer en route, and they don’t have to worry about finding a parking space at the rental property.

Instead of going to restaurants during the retreat, have everyone chip in for condiments, bread, cold cuts, coffee, tea, garbage bags, and so on. If allergies and eating habits make that impractical, ask people to bring their own easy-to-prepare foods. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; you can nibble as you write, with the exception of breaking formally for a communal Saturday dinner of potluck dishes.

For an even less expensive retreat, consider an at-home event. You don’t need to live in a mansion. Air mattresses are comfortable and you can set them up in the living room. TV trays make adequate laptop tables, as do computer lap desks. If you don’t have enough room for sleepovers or feel uncomfortable having strangers in your house overnight, make it a day retreat: People arrive in the morning and leave at the end of the day.

For the ultimate in inexpensive, try a virtual retreat. Everyone writes from their own desk. You select a select meeting software (Skype? Facetime? Google Hangout? Other?) and set up a meeting. Writers call in and spend about half an hour talking about their goals for the weekend, then everyone starts to write.

Leave the meeting software running; hearing keys clacking in the background, even if you’re not using video, can be very inspiring. This also allows people to throw out questions. If the occasional conversation bothers you, just turn off your sound until it’s over.

One idea I’ve bandied about but have no idea if it would work is a camping retreat. The cost can be very low for tent sites, but you have to worry about weather (wouldn’t want it to rain on your laptop!) and recharging your laptop and cell phone. If you have a spare battery for both, that could be a solution, but you can also check to see if the campground has tent sites with electrical hookups will rent you an RV site. Some campgrounds allow tents on an RV site if you’re willing to pay the higher hookup price.

Cabins are another option. Family cabins sleep 4 or more. Some campgrounds have “luxury cabins” that sleep 6-8 and include electricity, air conditioning, and WiFi. If you have more people than would fit in a cabin, hardy souls could rent a tent site, using the cabin only to recharge their laptops. Personally, I’d love to try writing outdoors at a picnic table, but nature wimps might be more comfortable inside.

If WiFi isn’t available, work offline or see if your smartphone can become a hotspot for your laptop. It’s true that WiFi makes it tempting to check email or Facebook, but if you have a research question or you need to ask an editor something, it’s good to have the ability to get online just for a few minutes.

For the Saturday evening meal, have a communal cook-out at the campfire. Keep it simple: meat or veggie burgers on the grill with salad or grilled veggies. While preparing the meal, chat about what you’ve been writing, talk out thorny writing problems, or read aloud what you’ve been working on that day. When planning your retreat, know who you’re inviting. Besides the issue of personal safety, consider the security deposit of the rental. Your writer companions should be responsible and respectful of others’ property. And if the rental contract stipulates no smoking in the house, they shouldn’t be sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom.

Decide on your focus. Will this be a write-a-thon, a critique session, a bonding exercise, or a combination of the above? Are you there to chat, socialize, write, network, or do a little bit of each?

Writing is a solitary task, but don’t underestimate the motivating power of the gentle peer pressure of being with a group of writers all working hard at their craft.

MorvenWestfieldMorven Westfield attended her first writing retreat in 2013 when a writer friend invited her to her writing group’s retreat. She was hooked by the camaraderie of people who actually understand a writer’s soul and by the energy from other writers. Since then, Morven has attended other mini-retreats or hosted mini-retreats in her own home at least once a year.

She is a member of Broad Universe, the Horror Writers Association, New England Horror Writers, and New England Speculative Writers. She is particularly active in the New England chapter of Broad Universe. Her supernatural-themed short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, and she regularly contributes articles on folklore and the supernatural to The Witches Almanac. Her two novels feature vampires who battle modern witches. For more information, visit her website at www.morvenwestfield.com or follow her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MorvenWestfieldAuthor/.

Morven currently lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband. Like many writers, she keeps a messy office and drinks way too much coffee.