Stepping Out Of Fear

I’m reblogging this in the hope that anyone suffering from depression will read it and be inspired.

Allison Maruska

Meet Lily.


We adopted Lily in 2010 along with her sister, Daisy. Lily and Daisy were part of a larger litter owned by a former student of mine, and when her family was moving out of state, the kittens needed homes as quickly as possible.

From the beginning, Lily was skittish. When we picked her up from my student’s house, she ran, hid, and shook. She didn’t like to be held.

For over a year, she didn’t like to be held.

Lily was never the alpha. If she was resting on the back of the couch, and Daisy jumped up next to her, Lily would leave. She hid from Tika, our older cat. Kids were lucky if they got to be in the same room with her.

For most of her days, she lived in fear.

Then, a couple of things happened. Tika passed away in November of 2014, and Daisy unexpectedly…

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Eight Reasons Why Writers Should Use Twitter

Great stuff from our friend Michael Dellert!


If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that I have more than 5,000 followers and frequently post throughout the day.

How frequently? Every two hours. But I do take a break between 10 pm and 8 am Eastern Time.

A typical tweet has a two-hour shelf-life. That’s not much. If you want to get your content noticed—whether you’ve written it yourself or you’re retweeting someone else—you need to tweet throughout the day.

TwitterBut why Twitter?

  1. If you’re active on Twitter, it will refer a ton of traffic to your blog and website. (Twitter is my #1 source of website traffic.)
  2. There’s a large community of Indie authors on Twitter who are willing to help you promote your book and form supportive alliances. Endeavor to meet other authors in your genre, share blog posts and promote each other on Twitter.
  3. Twitter will help you market your books.
  4. Twitter is where…

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FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE: If you could go anywhere in time, where would you go?


So? If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Today’s flash fiction challenge will be the seed starter for next week’s challenge. Each of you can suggest characters, a place, a setting, a circumstance, and we will compile them into choices for next week’s challenge.


WHERE would you go? Any place on Earth or some other planet or galaxy or… well, you get the idea.

WHO would you go with? Would it be you or a character? Maybe somebody from one of your stories? That could be fun.

WHEN? Into the past? The future? Maybe the girl’s locker room from your high school when you went there? (I’d totally do that one, by the way.)

WHY? Create a unique circumstance for a character to need to go into the past or future. This might be to save a life or steal money, stop an epidemic, who knows!

HOW? Why, by way of my time machine in The Navigators, of course.


$2.99 eBook or FREE with Kindle Unlimited Now available in paperback!

Okay, so you can suggest one thing or multiple things, answer WHERE but not WHY, answer all of them, whatever you want.  GO crazy. It’s Friday and I’m getting a cold so you have to help out today.

SHARE this challenge with your friends! They deserve a good time, too.

Thanks. I have some great stuff coming up for you Sunday. Probably. If I feel better.

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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!


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 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!