Words Of Strength & How They Apply To Writing


Teddy Roosevelt, and maybe Napoleon. Doesn’t matter.


How it applies to writing:

the ability to ask for one more review or apply to one more review site or ask once again for someone to consider letting you a guest blog when 100 in a row have said no, to keep pushing to finish and then push to publish and when nobody buys the book to go right back out there and keep pushing. It is humiliating enough in a world unto itself and yet you go on. You are crushed until your soul is flat and you still go on. It’s gonna take doing that thing you hate or suck at. Public speaking or cold calling bookstores to ask to do signings.

Every person you know who writes will know that feeling, but most of them will not go on. If you can summon the courage to persevere, you will be their successful friend.

Authors 3 Dorminy


Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

9 Things That Cost Your Book 5 Stars – Guest Blog Post By An Amazon Top Reviewer

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your humble host

Meerkat agreed to do a follow up post about stuff we writer types can do to avoid getting a less than stellar review from a reviewer.

Here are some of the top pet peeves. (Emphasis added by me)


There are lots of reasons why I love a book and I usually see something great in all books even if they’re not my favourite genres, but there are definite reasons why I don’t like a book and if these crop up, it feels as if the book still needs editing – and it’s hard for me to give it 5 stars.


1 – Spelling errors, grammar errors, typos, etc.

I know these are perhaps the least important for some people to check and I don’t mind the very odd typo (I’m guilty of them myself) but if every page of a book has typos and all sorts of errors like that it just starts to annoy me and makes the book less fun to read. It actually appears lazy on the authors part. Although I try to avoid mentioning it, other reviewers are more than happy to point out publicly every error that exists so proofread to death!


2 – Too many “he said/she said” moments.

Not only is the word “said” a little boring if overused but to have an indication of who’s speaking with each sentence makes any conversation read very slowly. On the flip side of course I’ve come across books where there’s no indication of who’s speaking for half a page which just makes it confusing and annoying if I have to start again at the top to figure out who was saying what.


3 – Overuse of a name.

Some books will have a chapter focused on one character and will use a name with every action. A couple of great fantasy and science fiction books I read were let down with every sentence beginning with the same character’s name, no ‘he/she/it’ or a different way of writing it just ‘Alan went..Alan said…Alan walked…Alan did…etc.’


4 – Characters are all the same.

Some books don’t delve deeply into characters and that’s okay, especially if they are more action-based stories. However, some books throw in a bunch of identical characters and expect you to tell them apart. In one science fiction book I’ve read there were no differences in the characters apart from a brief description at the start noting their looks and former jobs. The rest of the story never referred to any physical features or mannerisms and the main characters could have been swapped around and I wouldn’t have noticed.


5 – Too many characters.

This can confuse a plot especially if they’re all introduced in the first chapter. One fantasy romance had so many family members of the main characters that it took a lot of time to remember everyone and several of them could have been edited out as they didn’t add anything to the main plot.

Allison 2 will keep you guessing at every turn

$2.99 eBook or  FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Paperback from $7.99 – such a deal!

6 -Main characters forgotten about.

This sounds a bit weird but I’ve come across more than one book where a lot of characters were introduced into the plot, we followed their lives, got to know them and then…Well I don’t know as the author decided to wrap up the story focusing on only two of them. Several of these characters in one science fiction book had reached a cliff hanger moment in previous chapters only to never have their stories resolved. Having a story resolved doesn’t mean a clean end to their story, but in this book they were never mentioned again as if they didn’t exist!


7 – Similar names.

Okay so similar names doesn’t happen often but I’ve come across books with names like Jake and Blake etc., completely different characters but with names that are so similar, it’s easy to confuse them.


8 – No challenge.

Some books have action scenes where everything feels like it comes too easily to the characters. In books, like in films, it’s exciting when things don’t always go right for characters and if they have to learn a new power or open a locked door, it’s fun if they have trouble doing so and somehow makes the plot more believable.

it’s exciting when things don’t always go right for characters


9 -Too many adverbs.

Okay so adverbs are important but using them with every single action just sounds slow to me. This is a bit of a tricky point though as many people may want to use lots of adverbs and it is a way that people used to write but these days if you’re writing a fast paced story, having your characters every move noted with an adverb sounds slow and not so exciting to me. He walked or he crept is sometimes enough, rather than he walked slowly, slealthily, silently, etc.


I’m very open to many different writing styles and I even enjoy reading classics as different as some of that writing is so it takes a lot for me to dislike a book. But it is usually obvious when you read a book that looks like it needs editing. A lot of reviewers including amazon’s top will list editing problems they find with a book, though I try not to.

So if you can avoid the obvious issues I’ve mentioned, you’ll make at least one reviewer much happier!


Great stuff, Meerkat! And helpful for writers to know. Thanks for sharing!

Folks, these mistakes are easily avoidable if you let the MS rest after you write it, use beta readers, and start with interesting characters that are in a compelling story.

You can do that.

What are YOUR pet peeves when you are reading a book?

What causes you to put a book down?

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


Input, please!

This is an early version of the cover for my upcoming paranormal thriller.

I was thinking some demonic red eyes in the background, but I suck at covers.

Anyway, I’m not sure it conveys the essence of the story.

A cover should do that.


The story involves a small child and a some sort of being that is trying to kill her. What images say that? Blood on a doll? Red eyes against a cloud and a child playing in the foreground?

THAT is effing scary
Doesn’t get much more innocent that this!

A Google search on “blood on a doll” will bring up some reeeeeeally weird shit, so don’t go there. People are freaky.

I’m in a quandry.

Give me your thoughts!



Flash Fiction Challenge: Stuff That Ain’t Working

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your humble host

This week’s Friday Flash Fiction Challenge involves…

Stuff That Ain’t Working

Find a story you’ve written/are working on that isn’t quite working. Summarize it in 250 words or less, blurb style. Give it a new title.

We’ve all been there. The idea is solid but the words just aren’t happening.

Twenty or thirty thousand words in, you wonder what to do.

Do this.

Share it here – summarize your story or someone else’s (wink, wink) and see if someone else can shed some insight.

As you read the blurbs of others, you can note that it looks interesting. Maybe offer a suggestion about where it could go. Start a dialogue.

Personally, I think this might be really interesting. But who knows.

I know you guys have some good stuff floating around in your heads. Why not share some of it?

See, I was sitting in car line the other day, again, swearing at my decision to not get my A/C fixed yet, when I remembered a friend (okay, it was Allison) who was stuck in a story that wouldn’t budge. After chatting on Messenger for an hour or so, the logjam was freed up and the words were flowing. I think it went on to be a best seller. Probably.

Anyway, that made me realize:

we all have stories like that!

Here’s your chance to lay one on us and maybe get a little help.

In 250 words or less, ‘splain your story to us. Post your entry below or the link to it on my blog, and with a few other rules, we’ll see what we can do.

Authors 3 Dorminy

Time to mention this book I wrote

The Navigators $2.99, FREE with Kindle Unlimited. Click HERE to get your copy!



  • You write 250 words more or less on the topic.
  • Post it on your blog.
  • No blog? Post it below in the comments section.
  • Reference us on your blog and this challenge so your regular readers don’t think you’ve been up for three days with no sleep again.
  • Post the link to your story here in the comments section.
  • You have until 12 noon EST, 1 week from the date of this post, to get it done. EST is Tampa Florida US of A time, for those of you who live elsewhere.

Come up with something good, but remember time flies. Be sure to get your entry in before the deadline!

Be sure to REBLOG this so your readers know what you’re up to, and invite as many people to play as you want. It’s all in good fun. Probably.

Okay, get to it!

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


11 Things Stephen King taught me about writing – whether he wanted to or not.

Stephen king was born on this day in 1947. He has sold hundreds of millions of books and is famous the world over for a his novels, movies and short stories. Oh and he did an American Express commercial once. 

He is in one of the greatest writers of our time, and whenever one of the best people in your field offers you advice (he’s in bold), you should listen to it.

Here are some things I pulled from a recent interview he did. 

1. My first editor, Bill Thompson, who edited Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Night Shift — in his report on Carrie, he said, “this writer has a projector in his head.”

DA: I love that comment. Many times when my critique partners or beta readers are going over one of my stories, they say it reads like a movie. That can be a complement or a dig, but I always take it as a compliment. Movies tend to move fast and don’t have wasted scenes or words. To know that somebody else – somebody famous – writes that way, it’s pretty cool.

2. I grew up and movies molded me… I see things visually. 

Me, too. I like to say that if 1 million people read a book, it’s a blockbuster bestseller. If only 1 million people go see a movie, it’s a flop. So there’s nothing wrong with thinking along the lines of a movie because between TV, movies and Internet videos, people are much more exposed to visual mediums than written. Might as well write for them along those lines. 

3. That was reinforced in college, where I took a lot of poetry courses, and people would come down on this idea about the image before everything, let the image talk, don’t tell me that this person is sad, don’t tell me this, don’t tell me that, show me something. 

If you ever write a story and put it before a critique group, this is one of the first comments you will get. Show, don’t tell. 

For me, I constantly find myself asking other authors, “what does that look like?” Your husband smirked at you. Okay, put yourself in your kitchen and say the comment that causes him to turn around and do something that causes to you to conclude he smirked. Physically, what did he do? Describe that. By the time you are finished, you will have 20 words to describe something that took a quarter of a second to do. But after you figure out what the heck it looks like, it will be much shorter. And when you start doing it that way, your characters come alive and your story suddenly has more depth than you ever realized. 

4. Episodic TV and miniseries, those things have a novelistic arc. I gravitate toward that immediately, so for me, shows like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos or The Walking Dead — all of those things are superior to movies because they have more texture, more depth.

Don’t be afraid to learn from other storytelling forms besides novels. Don’t be a book snob. 

As King mentions, TV, miniseries, movies, short stories – everything can teach you ways to tell a story. I find myself watching the openings of movies and figuring out how quickly they got to the point or set the hook. At the recent Ghostbusters remake, I didn’t think they did a good job of starting it. But I was comparing it to the original in my head. Well, the original was on TV, so I watched it. Within three minutes the viewer had a pretty good idea of what to expect from that movie and what kind of challenges the heroes were going to face. Three minutes. I keep asking myself, can I do that in my novel in three minutes?

5. I don’t think of myself as a genre writer… As far as I’m concerned, genre was created by bookstores so that people who were casual readers could say, “Well, I want to read romances.” “Well, right over there, that’s where romances are.” 

Not only that, but many great stories have elements of different genres in them. For example, the original Star Wars has romance in it. It has suspense. It has mystery. Of course, it has action – but it also has a love story. 

We tend to forget that, but those layers are part of what makes it so interesting and why it has claimed so many fans.

6. I read across all genres.

If great stories contain elements of different genres, then it makes sense to read different genres so that you can learn to appreciate those elements and put them in your own stories, making yours deeper and richer – and making you a better writer. 

7. One more thing about genre: King says, “The thing about genre is, so many people are like little kids who say, ‘I can’t eat this food because it’s touching this other thing.’”

Ha. That’s just awesome. 

8. I can only work four hours a day. Writers are totally different all the time. Anthony Trollope used to get up at four o’clock and write until seven, because he had a job at a post office. And John Irving says he writes all day, but I don’t understand how anybody can do that… for me, you reach a point of diminishing returns.

My take? Know your limits. It’s not a competition. Don’t worry how much I write, worry how much you write. Quality is better than quantity anyway. Worry about that. 

9. But it was never done to make money. It was done because all those ideas were there. They were all screaming to get out at the same time and they all seemed good.

Write the stories that are in you, the ones that are dying to get out. There’s a reason you can’t stop thinking about them. Trust your gut and go with it. Even if they were to flop, you’ll be much more satisfied as a person for having gotten them out and exposing them to the world. And yes, you have more than one good story in you, so get that first one born so you can get on the second and third – and more. 

10. If everybody is saying the same thing about your work that’s negative, then there’s something there that’s wrong. You’re doing the wrong thing and you’d be crazy to say, “I’m right, and all these other people are wrong.”

I do that. I’m trying not to, though. Arrogance isn’t strength of belief, its inability to admit flaws and see the truth. 

11. When I came on the scene, I was seen as a genre writer and as a pulp writer. I never squealed about it. I never complained or wrote angry letters. I just kept my head down, kept doing my work. When it comes to literary criticism, it’s best to keep quiet and just do your work.

So listen to critics – but not to the point of letting it become a distraction. 

Let their input be something you consider and try to learn from, not something that derails you. 

They’re criticing. 

You’re writing.  Creating. 

So go create. 

Check out my new sci-fi thriller The Navigators! $2.99 ebook or $7.99 paperback

FREE with Kindle Unlimited