The Top Ten Self-Publishing, Fantasy, and eBook Stories of 2014

Jennifer Bresnick

Victorian clock face

Hey there, guys!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or at least a brief break from work/commuter traffic/annoying office mates, for those who didn’t celebrate).  I don’t want to distract you from composing your reviews of Dark the Night Descending, which I know you’re all doing in the final two weeks of my contest, but I thought I’d share with you an end-of-the-year roundup of the top posts on Inkless.  2014 was a good year for my humble little blog, and I think it’s kind of fun to revisit the stories that attracted the most eyeballs over the past twelve months.

Ready to count down?  Here we go!

10. Short Story: He Belongs to the Sea

It was nightfall when the blood came.  William had been set to sitting and watching, so the surgeon could attend to others.  He had never seen so much before.  The…

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29. Why I’m a Poet.


This is about that moment when you read a poem and something within it resonates deep within you. It’s a lot like falling in love, only with words. It’s about the fate of humanity, to be so much the same and yet to seem so different. It is in honour of the old poets who left a piece of their humanity behind so that we wouldn’t feel so alone in ours.

Why I’m a Poet.

I love that the edges of our souls overlap.
I love that if you’re careful you can shine a light
Onto that exact spot where they do.
I love that if you’re watching closely enough
A few words can light up whole corners of your soul
And dark things bathed in light have no power to frighten.
I love that words have this power of connection.
This power to make us feel seen,
Sometimes in…

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Beasts, Alphas, Doms, and the BDSM Line

Notebook of a Black Sheep

First, I’d like to thank my anonymous reviewer for their compliment, in saying that my story was well-written. But second, I would like to address some concerns that this reviewer brought up.

For those of you who haven’t read the review, the subject is the mentality behind alphas and dominants, and what that tendency actually says about the person in question. This begs the question of whether an alpha can ever be considered a well-rounded character. Since one of my two main characters is a beast character, and he is the focal point, this tension is makes up the crux of my story.

“I have always found over-the-top ‘alphas’ or ‘doms’ to be more than a little repugnant…”

Alphas and dominants certainly cater to a particular taste. The stories that revolve around them often center around the issue of control. This is because being an alpha means being at the…

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A Dash of Romance

Allison Whitmore, Author

On my journey to wrestle a good antagonist to life in story I am currently contracted to complete (for very little pay at the moment, mind you), I discovered this delightful article by C.S. Lakin. I was happily surprised to find that the article brought to light an argument for romance I had never quite seen before but seemed so incredibly logical. It’s sort of what I mean when I say “romance is the human condition”…sort of. Lakin states that we appreciate romance in our stories, even if it’s at the B plot or a C plot level because romance reflects life. I love that idea. Okay, sure, happily-ever-after does not necessarily reflect life, and romance stories are often reflective of the character’s maturation process. But her point is a good one, and I encourage you to take a look at what else she has to say about support characters and plot-lines. It’s was…

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Completing the Climax

room of our own

I finished writing my climactic scene today, and it really was everything I hoped for.  I had to work within the limitations of my story’s situation, so the youngest ghost, who can leave the house, was popping in and out to tell people what was happening.  He was also instrumental in getting the husband, who actually is a police detective, to get to the scene faster than he was doing.  Of course, the fact that my young ghost was pushing every button he could find in the patrol car may have helped.  He had the heat fluctuating, the radio blaring, and eventually the sirens screaming and the lights flashing.  It’s handy to be a ghost, sometimes.  I’ll have to try it some time.

The thing is, using the ghost helped to build the tension in a way that I had not been able to do when I forgot about the…

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Personal Writing Goals and Reflections

ATIC State of Mind

photo 1 (14)

As the year comes to an end, everyone is beginning to think of their new goals for the new year and reflect on how far they have come over the course of 365 days. Therefore, I thought that it would be a great time to jot down my writing goals for the coming year, as well as how I feel I have already improved as a writer.

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Why you should write contemporary romance, even if you never publish it

Must Use Bigger Elephants


Anyone who knows me will also know that I?m not a great fan of romance. I?ve read a good deal of it (eons ago) and while I don?t hate reading it, I find other genres much more interesting.

But I think to be able to write contemporary romance is a great skill. Genre books often have romantic subplots, and it?s not unusual that the romance feels forced. Moreover, it?s likely that genre books have characters, and that you?d like the characters to be full and well-developed.

Writing contemporary romance can help immensely with both.

In contemporary romance, you strip away everything that makes a setting cool. You take away the space ships, the magic, the historical context, and you?re left with just characters and an everyday setting that?s well-known to all readers and needs no explanation?

Leaving the author to craft a story solely based on the characters and the…

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Show Me The Story: Creating Your Doctoral Narrative

100 days to the doctorate & beyond

2013-09-12 14.18.06

Once you have your doctorate, don’t imagine the progress reports stop. Don’t think you can say goodbye to explaining what your research means, or why it is important and whether anyone should care. In fact, once you graduate, the demands for you to sell your doctoral story have never been greater. Now you have your doctorate, you are expected to deliver your story about your research in razor sharp, fully focused, bite sized pitches. To everyone.

Some great advice I received shortly after graduating was to start practicing my story. Not the story of what I wrote about – but the story of me; my doctoral research, my journey – both what I did and what I planned to do. I had to curate myself.

In short, you have to be able to sell yourself. “Let everyone know who you are, that’s no easy thing,” I was warned…

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A Day in the Life of a Feature Writer? Erm, No Thanks!

Chapter Five

imagesToday I typed into Google: A day in the life of a feature writer, because I wanted to imagine myself in that role to see how it felt. Apparently, one of the first tasks a feature writer (for a daily newspaper) does in the morning is to go through the newspapers for feature ideas. This may mean sod all to you, but let me give you some context of what it means to me.

[Context:] I avoid watching the news. I avoid looking at all newspapers (apart from the occasional Sunday paper, because I like the magazines and interviews) and I’ve even deactivated my facebook account because I’m sick of being bombarded with negative, gut wrenching and disturbing information. I’m of a sensitive temperament-or at least that’s what I’ve always told people when they ask why I avoid the news. But on pondering this statement, maybe it’s not that…

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Short Stories are more popular than ever

Susan Pope Books

In this fast moving digital world reading a complete novel is not always possible, even for the avid reader. Short stories can fill little gaps and boost morale when intelligent people have little time to spare. Writing short stories can also be a starting block for potential novelists to flex their writing muscle and learn the craft of creative writing. It is a natural progression from writing school essays which sometimes allowed for fiction and creative writing projects.

My progression as I began my writing career, came from writing short stories as homework for my local writing groups. Last year I published some of the best under the title ‘Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups’ using, which I consider the best self-publishing website, provided you are confident with your own editing-skills or can access these successfully.

I consider writers should always seek to improve their skills and I am very excited to have secured a…

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How to Expand Your Novel


You’ve been working on your novel or your short story, but you’re stumped. There’s something off about your story, something that makes it hard to believe, not to mention your word count might be lower than you anticipated.

How do you go about remedying this? How can you expand your work?

One way is through narration.

  • Force your characters to do more, go bigger. You want to push them outside their comfort zone.
  • You want to make sure there are enough obstacles in your characters way to make what they’re doing have a big emotional and physical impact.
  • Find ways to reveal your characters’ internal states of mind – their thoughts, beliefs, ideals, fears– through their actions, or lack thereof.

Another way to expand is through description.

  • Find ways to show tension and movement through description.
  • Show what’s happening through sensory details. Make readers experience the same sensations your characters…

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