Five Links 9/6/19 Loleta Abi

rose petals

Five Links 9/6/19

Loleta Abi


1. “Man vs. Self—it’s the most archetypal of all stories. This is because all stories are ultimately rooted in the primal and personal struggle of a character’s inner conflict.

As individuals, our conflicts with others or the world itself are almost inevitably either reflections or projections of our inner conflicts—our cognitive dissonances, our conflicting wants and needs, sometimes even our conflicting wants and wants or conflicting needs and needs. Finding inner peace is ultimately about working through the chatter of the many competing voices in our heads (some of them accurate, all of them passionate) on our way toward understanding the following:”

2. Do you think this is a healthier balance, having something that earns money and then the writing?

Lisa: I think it really depends on the person and where you are in life. For me, for a long time thought I just want to be able to sit in a room and write all day and just write and only do that and tend to my author business and for about six months I did that.

I ended up depressed and very anxious because for me it was too much time in my own head and it was a lot of pressure on how am I going to make this pay and make some money writing but would it be enough to support me by itself.

But I also realized I’m just happier when I do multiple different things. So it took a while to realize that I was unhappy when almost all my hours were practicing law and I had little time for anything else. And then I wasn’t really happy when it was almost all writing. So I have a nice mix right now and I think everyone has to figure out what that is for themselves.” I think that’s why working on multiple things help me. It makes me happier and challenges me with ways to get through my list. I may let a few things slide, but the majority I get down. Especially writing-wise”

4. “The romance genre is alive and well, my friends. More people buy romance novels than any other genre and regardless of digital or print. One of the most prolific romance writers, Nora Roberts, writes a new romance novel every 45 days. She’s not just a machine; she’s created an amazing fan base. But is that enough?

It’s interesting how a prolific woman like Nora Roberts has written dozens of books that sold over 400 million copies… but a man (ahem, cough, Nicholas Sparks) who wrote half the number of books and sold only 105 million copies has movies deals out the wazoo. But that’s another post.

In this article, let’s look at how to write romance novels like Nora Roberts.”

5. “Series are HOT, HOT, HOT! As in hotter than ever in the history of fiction. Granted, series have always been popular. When I was growing up (back in the B. Dalton days) I’d deliberately look for authors who’d published multiple books—series in particular—because if I liked the first book?

I could BINGE!

My early teen years are a blur of Dragonlance, the Dragons of PernThe Belgariad, Star Trek books, the world of Dune, and more.

Readers have gravitated heavily to series in all sorts of genres for decades. From Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series, to Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee series, to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and beyond, the trend is clear.

Humans LOVE stories that can go the distance. We can’t resist a good story, and once we’re transported into a world we LOVE? It’s tough to kick us out.

This is true with books as well as film.”

Research & Some Fun Bits:

1. “See that piece of art at the top of this post? I licensed that cartoon through Canstock Photo, which I generally use for these posts. There are other stock art licensing sites, and WMG Publishing uses a bunch of them. I’m sure many of you do too.

The license I agreed to for this particular piece of art is pretty standard. I paid a few bucks so that I could use this on my website, as long as I give the artist credit. I use the credit line that Canstock Photo provides.

The cartoon is non-exclusive, which means anyone can download it and use it. If you want to write a post on a completely different topic, and use the same piece of cartoon, you most certainly can.”

2. “One of my favorite aspects of developing a character’s arc is exploring their false belief because it’s key to the emotional heart of our story: a character’s struggles and journey toward change. Without a false belief established—that they then attempt to overcome—we’re more likely to have a hard time coming up with strong or interesting story events beyond just external plot obstacles.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, a character’s false beliefs are things the character believes that we, as the author, know not to be true. They’re not really unlovable, not everyone is out to get them, trust isn’t always a lie, etc.

However, their backstory wound has shaped their worldview so much that they believe their inaccurate conclusion to be logical. They’ve allowed it to define their fears and what they’re willing or able to do to achieve their goals and/or fulfill their longings.”

3. “Weaving a powerful tale is not easy. Whether you pants or plot, ending up with a cohesive tale means understanding the key moments in a story. Today’s post by Angelica Hartgers offers up a great technique to use if plotting is something you struggle with, so read on!”


5. “From 2004 to 2007 my husband and I enjoyed the vibrancy of Hong Kong — its Asian flavour and exotic nature, stunning scenery, and friendly people, its strange-to-us customs and foods and its unique blend of modern present with ancient traditions. We had an amazing experience. People would ask whether China controlled things, and we would say that the communist regime stays well in the background and allows Hong Kong to be a true example of one country, two systems. A beacon of hope that things might eventually change.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. “It’s a beautifully crafted literary masterpiece in your head, but miserable on paper. So how do you get from ‘pile of words’ to ‘book-shaped thing’ without going utterly and entirely insane through the redrafting process?

Here’s a big fucking secret: editing isn’t just about making the words sound right or sticking a comma in the right place – it’s about SCULPTING your story. It’s about chopping bits off and smoothing bits down and sometimes changing the shape entirely. Your first draft is meant to be rubbish. That’s what editing’s for.

Imagine you’re Michelangelo and someone’s just wheeled a gigantic piece of shit-quality marble into your studio – a block that’s so flawed no one thinks it’s worth the time and effort (true story). You point your chisel at that slab of marble and you tell the world: “I’m gonna transform this rock into something so frickin’ awesome it will endure throughout the ages as the pinnacle of artistic beauty.” (Paraphrased.)

You set to work.”

2. “My life took two distinct turns in 1998—make that three. It was the year I had to take over the management of my husband’s mortgage company, which coincided with a frenzied refinance boom. I had been plucked away from making mosaic furniture, cutting marble, granite and Murano glass on my tile saw. Tactile, creative work, the kind of thing I’d always been drawn to. Prior to my induction into the workforce, I’d harbored two major phobias in my life: cooking in a restaurant and having to work in an office environment. The latter probably accounts for why I had never even learned to type. But learn to type I did, quickly.

After working ten-hour days for months on end, the refi market cooled down enough for me to realize I was having a lot of peculiar aches and pains, accompanied by rashes, loss of coordination, numbness and tingling. Thinking I might have a vitamin deficiency or something else innocuous, I went to see an internist, who promptly sent me to a neurologist. After a full battery of tests, I was passed on to a rheumatologist. On and on it went for two years, one specialist after another. 

Several doctors later, I gave up. My symptoms had expanded and the pain had become overwhelming. None of the medications I’d taken had any positive effect, and the doctors had run out of ideas. I started thinking about things I could do if I became bedridden. I figured with a laptop computer I could write, now that I knew how to type.”

3. “There are serious problems in publishing right now with black hat authors. Nobody is talking about it either, because the cost of speaking out is simply too great. Scammers are increasingly litigious. Dirty tricks abound. White hat writers are suffering in other ways too as readers come to mistrust any name unknown to them, and the only entity with enough power to enforce any kind of justice doesn’t like going on patrol. But maybe there is something else we can do.

My first introduction to the concept of black hats and white hats was not via cowboy movies – I am not American and my own cultural milieu was less focused on that… frontier – but from Philosophy classes as a college student. Particularly what is known as the Hat Riddle (or the Prisoner Hat Riddle).

There are many variations, but in the version I heard, four cowboys – two wearing black hats and two wearing white hats – are captured by banditos who decide to have a little fun with them. They bury the cowboys up to their necks in sand so they can’t move or even turn their heads. The banditos swap their hats around so each cowboy doesn’t know which color hat they are wearing. And then they are asked to guess… and if they get it wrong, they die.”

4. “This September sees the paperback publication of my first legal thriller, Degrees of Guilt, under the pen name HS Chandler. It was difficult to write for a number of reasons, but the most immediate of them was having proper consideration for the real victims of coercive control. This year has seen the overturning of a conviction following the defendant’s account of living in a coercive control relationship.

The subject has taken on a new importance, and public understanding of the subject is – I’m delighted to say – at an all time high. What we don’t have figures for, or a solution to, is the number of such relationships that exist behind tightly locked doors. And I never forgot that for one moment when I was writing the book.

I view it as a privilege to write books that are traditionally published, that people review, that they comment about on social media. My job is to entertain my reader, to wrap them up in a different world, to make them think, cry, gasp or laugh. To transport them. For this reason, it’s inevitable that my books contain an element of the shocking, the unfathomable and the terrifying. It comes with the territory when writing crime and psychological thrillers that you use people’s fears and nightmares, the worst that humans can do to one another, as subject matter.

Yet there are real victims out there. Some survivors, some still fighting for a chance to survive, and others who have yet to encounter the monsters who will harm them. As a writer, balancing the need to entertain against the moral requirement to be respectful to victims, can be a tough one. For me, the question of getting that balance right, boils down to one simple question: Am I glamourising the criminal behaviour?”

5. “I have my first real vacation coming up in October. It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled to another country. When my husband was alive, he had his passport but never wanted to travel outside the U.S. I wanted him to see some of the countries I visited after high school but he never had the curiosity for international travel. It’s a shame. I would’ve liked to experience another adventure with him. I lost him in 2014 and have missed him every day. It’s been a process of redefining who I am without him, but with every day that passes, I feel stronger and more hopeful.

I didn’t write for two years after he died. I was in a fog for a long time. Faced with selling my large home and an extra car and downsizing was a daunting task, but I had lots of support. After a friend contacted me to write for her Amazon Kindleworlds, I finally got back into writing and that helped me deal with my grief. I wrote about it. In the many characters I developed in my Amazon novellas and in the novels I’ve written after my husband died, I explored my emotional frailties through the eyes of my characters. Writing helped me heal. I will never be whole again, but through hardships, you develop strength and you see how important friends and family can be. In many ways, I’ve been blessed.

This trip is more than exploring the world and meeting new people. It’s an awakening for me. It’s as exciting as it is frightening but I can’t wait to get the first stamp in my passport and I have more trips planned over the next two years.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “I started writing TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT what seems like forever ago. And yet, I “only” started writing it in March 2018. I was still undergoing chemo for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma then. I was in my 5th month of chemo then. I’m still in treatment today.

MSKCC’s website explains: “Hodgkin lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease) is an uncommon form of lymphoma. It is distinguished by the presence of large abnormal tumor cells called Hodgkin Reed-Sternberg cells. Although Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in both children and adults, it is usually diagnosed in young adults between 20 and 34. ” As per the Leukemia & Lymphoma society, in 2019, there are expected to be 82,310 new cases of lymphoma diagnosed in the US (8,110 cases of HL, 74,200 cases of NHL). You can find some of the symptoms here.

This book has been with me through chemo treatments, ER visits, a clean scan, a not-so clean scan, a relapse, spleen biopsy, radiation, another so-so scan, a more worrisome scan, a bronchoscopy, a mediastinoscopy, immunotherapy treatment, a better scan, the decision to undergo an autologous stem cell transplant (more information from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center about Blood & Marrow Transplants),”

2. “Hi everyone 🙂 My new book (TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT) comes out tomorrow (9/5) and I am organizing a release month campaign. As I’m currently gearing up for an autologous stem cell transplant (as you know, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2017) and September is #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth, I am donating $1 for every pre-order and purchase of TMTMN until September 30th to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In addition, if you order a copy and fill out the Google form on my blog (, you’ll also receive an exclusive epilogue and be entered in a $25 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Don’t hesitate to spread the word 🙂 Thank you!”

3. “Jude Craig is a level-headed teacher in a Yorkshire secondary school.
Within a matter of days her professional and personal life is
shattered by a series of strange events in her house. What starts
with the sound of papers fluttering to the floor quickly escalates to
her discovering that someone has been in the house whilst she is

When Jude is driven out of her job and home she is
forced to discover whether she is being haunted, stalked by a pupil,
or the terrifying possibility that she is losing her mind.”


5. “Please tell us about your publications/work. My first book, One With Willows is a collection of what I call “spiritually playful” poetry.  You see, childlike wonder is my lens for viewing the world, childlike wonder and a sense of the Divine. And all my writing is meant to be a kind of footpath for readers into that place of delight, to help them awaken their own childlike wonder, perhaps to find Divinity for themselves.”

2 responses to “Five Links 9/6/19 Loleta Abi”

  1. I am touched to be featured on your blog, thank you so much! Wishing you only sweetness and many, many blessings as you continue to reach for Life and Light *smiling heart**yellow butterflies**children embracing*

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