Friday Flash Fiction Challenge: Let’s Spend The Night Together – PLUS: Update on the WORD WEAVER WRITING CONTEST!

I have TWO big announcements about the Word Weaver Writing Contest!

Word Weaver logi FINAL

But First…

One of the kids in my Young Author’s Club was having trouble coming up with a character name for his story.

Oh, you didn’t know I run a Young Author’s Club for grade school kids?


It’s a freaking blast, too. You should definitely try it (working with kids, not re-entering grade school – that’s just creepy). You know a lot about writing, so you have a lot to offer them, and working with young children (I allow kids in grades 3-8 in the club) is a lot of fun. They see the world differently and with much more innocence and possibility… It’s refreshing.

Plus, you get to read cool new stories for FREE.

More on that later if you really wanna know about it.


The kid in the club has a character named John and he wanted a name that was more Old World sounding. Medieval-ish.

I explained that John is in fact a pretty old name. Like, John the Baptist, or John who wrote one of the Gospel books of the Bible, you know? That’s older than Knights in shining armor times.

But it didn’t sound old to him, probably because his name was John and he didn’t consider his name old since he isn’t very old.

Good point. All things are relative.

So as we were kicking around names, it occurred to me that

  • character names are hard to think up

  • we need a device to come up with character names

  • I need a flash fiction challenge

Thus, I came to you.



Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, UK
Knights who lived here, that is
  1. Take the first two letter of your name (first, middle or last) and create a NEW medieval name with it, by adding knight-ish sounding letters onto the end.

(Yes, Lucy, I purposed substituted night for knight in the title of this post to get clicks and to get you to read this far. You probably skimmed, though, so we’re even.)

For example, my name is Dan Alatorre (If you didn’t know THAT, you really need to consider glasses – it’s right at the top of the page, for Pete’s sake) so I’d take the DA or AL and add some knightish sounding letters to make a knightish sounding name:

Da + Lancelot = Dancealot.

Uh, no. But we can trim that…


or, using my second name, maybe…



I didn’t say I was any good at this. The knights of the round table had terrible names. Look.

  • King Arthur. (Arthur? yawn.)
  • Lancelot. (That may be the only cool one of the bunch, because a lance is a weapon)
  • Gawain. (Ugh)
  • Geraint. (UGH)
  • Percival. (Make it stop)
  • Bors the Younger. (You gotta figure he got picked on a lot at school)
  • Lamorak. (I’m pretty sure that’s a disease)
  • Kay. (Lady knights! Who knew?)

See? Awful. I mean, you can’t do much worse than Gawain. Or Kay.

Geriant??? Really?

I think a guy got arrested for that recently. He was being geriant around a school zone.

Dauncy actually sounds medievalish, he just sounds like… a lightweight. Like his outfit has too many feathers.

Okay, so you are not limited to adding Authurian second half names onto your knight name.


2. You MUST give your name a tag, such as Bors the Younger. So, My knight might be Dauncy The Younger, or Dauncy the Brave.

But as always, there’s a trick to it. (Otherwise, it’s not much of a challenge, is it?)

How to arrive at your tag?


You have to use the first two letters of your other name (from your actual first, middle, or last name) that you didn’t already use. So, if I go with DA for Dauncy, I have to use AL for his tag:

Dauncy The AL… something.



All Terrain Vehicle?

See? That’s where the challenge comes in. I might then switch mine around and go with Alwayne The Dangerous.

Dauncy The Alcoholic

3. So you have 60 seconds to come up with the second part of the name, your knight’s tag.

I’ll have to trust you on the 60 seconds thing.

Being wordsmiths, that will be easy, right? After all, it’s not really YOUR name anymore.


Dauncy The Altruistic


Meh. Still too many feathers.

And we’re off!

List your knight name in the comment section below. Extra points if you can make me laugh. (Dauncy The Alcoholic came close.)

Now, the reason you wanna do this is NOT clearly stated but heavily implied in a prior post. Actually, I only kinda hinted, but trust me, in a week you’ll be happy you played today. Probably.

Okay, enough goofing around.

Here is your update on the April Writing Contest:

Word Weaver logi FINAL

This thing is REALLY taking off.

So far we have over two dozen prizes and six or seven great sponsors, with MORE on the way! There are cash prizes (actually Amazon gift cards) and the top winners will be featured here, interviewed, lauded from on high.

The contest starts on the first Friday of April but I have dropped in some helpful hints in this post and again today.  READ BOTH CAREFULLY. The hints are small but a LOT of you will appreciate them in a week. Probably.

So, get ready.

On the first Friday of April, I will announce the rules for our first quarterly writing contest. (We plan on doing three this year: April, July, and October. But this one will be the best.)

There will be ARE prizes!

Right now I’m talking to people about

  • $50, $25 and $10 Amazon gift cards (UPDATE: I have provided those)
  • signed paperbacks, by me and other authors/sponsors (you could be one of those. UPDATE: So far we’ve had half a dozen authors offer to supply us with five or more books each, paperback or eBook, to use as individual prizes or to bundle together for a bigger prize. YOU CAN STILL GET IN ON THAT! Contact me!)
  • BOOK COVERS from real cover designers (UPDATE: we still need these, but one sponsor has connections with a school for cover design to allow us access to their artists. We could have quite a selection emerge from that! Stay tuned! But if you are a cover designer and want to be seen by thousands of prospective clients, contact me!)
  • EDITING SERVICES (Ditto on that. We need these services donated as prizes. Please contact your editor and see what they will donate to our contest. They will be promoted to thousands of prospective clients and offered to do guest posts.)
  • on and on.

YOU will have the month of April to enter an amazing piece of your own writing to our contest.

I will post all the details then, but if you have ever entered a writing contest, tell me some of the things you liked best about it. There’s still time for me to dd those aspects into ours. Probably.


More people participating means your work will be seen by more people. You want that.

Your friends need to know about this, and you’ll be glad later. Actually, I’ll be glad later. But that’s almost as good.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, SPONSORS!! YOU will be named and proudly on display when the contest starts!


  • Editing services,

  • artwork,

  • cover designers

  • and more!

ANY writer related service can be a prize.

  • Proofreading.

  • Writing software.

  • Membership in a critique group

  • One year membership in a writing association

  • A free pass to a writing conference.


Help me find sponsors so our contest is a big draw! It’s easy!

OR: BE a sponsor YOURSELF! 3 easy ways:

  1. You don’t even have to ask anybody; you can buy a pass to a FWA mini conference or Scrivener or something and donate it yourself. They’re cheap, and it’s a write off for you.

  2. Heck, buy and donate a $10 Amazon gift card. I’ll use it as a prize or bundle it with a few other Ammy cards for a bigger prize. Plus, YOU are then a sponsor, so you are entitled to all the accoutrements attached thereto, namely mucho love from me. Everybody wins.

  3. Maybe get together with a few friends and buy a $25 gift card. This blog had given you $25 worth of value over the years. (My witty insights in THIS BLOG POST about doing signings alone was worth that!)

Who do you know? Which of these services have you used? Ask them!

More sponsors means more people participating means your work will be seen by more people. Again, you want that. A bunch of you contacting a few people you’ve networked with = lots of possible prizes for us.

Hell, I’ll take an ad for Canada Tire if they’ll donate a hundred buck in prizes. Or a hundred Loonies, whatever they use up there.

Oh, that reminds me: it starts the first Friday April and runs through April 30, but that really cuts out a week of April, doesn’t it? So one of these hints is: start writing now. You had a two week head start.

What should you write about?

Well, I don’t know. I didn’t say these were good hints. The first contest will not be limited to a genre, if that helps! So give us your best.

Your humble host.
your humble host, Dauncy The Altruistic

Gotta run! More hints will be dropped in via blog posts over the next 7 days, so check back often, and the BIG announcement comes on Friday!

Now, tell me your knight name! 





What Do YOU Think?

I’m interested in getting your thoughts about stuff I see and hear, quotes I read, stuff that passes as knowledge – and starting an authorey conversation.


Succeed or fail, your name is on that book. You’d better love it. Every stinking word.

I’m happy to say it’s been my experience that most of you try to write stuff you’d want to read, but not every word. You can admit it.

What are YOUR thoughts on this idea?


Find Romance With Me (Romance Readers, That Is)


Your humble host.
your humble host

I wanted to be sure to market Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure properly, so I did some studying.

Poggi is a romance story, albeit an unconventional one.

The main character, Mike Torino, falls hard for a woman, and I mean he falls HARD.

The romantic scenes you’ll read in this story are some of the most romantic you’ll read, period.

But the MC is not without flaws. Mike’s a hard-working, good looking guy who get a shot at a promotion by way of a project in Italy, so he takes it – right about the time his wife’s best friend is getting divorced. For no good reason, he starts thinking about that. They’re no different than us. If it could happen to them…

But the promotion looms.

He takes his wife Mattie and their young daughter on a working vacation hoping to rekindle romance, but it just isn’t working. They fight. A lot. And nobody seems to be having fun, so when it comes to a boil, Mattie leaves in a huff. And Mike is trapped. He can’t leave Italy without blowing his promotion, so he stays on.

Now, here’s where something strange happens. Mike has always ignored the flirty advances from women. He seems to get them a lot but he’s been immune. His assistant back in Atlanta, Samantha, notes: “Mike, you’re the pretty girl in high school who can’t understand why the boys keep falling all over themselves to help you with everything. Frankly, you being oblivious to it is adorable.”

But Italy!  Tuscany! Romance! Everything he wanted to rediscover with his wife…

To make matters worse, his Italian partner ends up in the hospital with a heart attack.

Now Mike is really screwed. But Alberto assigns a young assistant, and all is to be well – and Mike is sure the new guy won’t be able to cut the mustard.

Until she shows up.

Yeah, she. The young Italian assistant is a young Italian lady.

And she is a looker

And she’s reeeeally smart.

She’s a take-no-crap, headstrong, aggressive type, too. The first thing she does is tell Mike to get a new tie.

Actually, she doesn’t even tell him. She grabs him and hauls him across the street and buys him a new tie. A locally made one. Because the people they’ll be seeing in meeting will know the difference.

She’s that on top of stuff.

And the deals goes well. So well, she wants to celebrate – with champagne and oysters. At lunch. On a playground.

Where she comes on to him.

I mentioned she’s hot, right?

Now, here’s a guy whose wife isn’t talking to him, alone in Italy on a business trip, and his sexy female liaison is knocking business out of the park – and coming on to him, too.

Normally, he’s immune.

Now? Uh, maybe not so much.

And what comes next is a hilarious, knock-down drag-out funny story about, well, all the stuff that comes next.

It has everything that’s funny in it: death, infidelity, drama… Oh, those aren’t funny topics? You haven’t read the story. They are here!

Sarcastic and witty, Sam usually keeps Mike out of hot water. Not this time.

Wanna know what happens?

I bet you do!

And don’t worry, I have put in a few twists you won’t see coming. One, NOBODY sees coming – and everybody loves it.

This is probably the most romantic book you will read in 2017, and definitely the funniest.

Because I wrote it, and as a bestselling author a few times over, I’m pretty good at this stuff.


So, I needed to know: WHO is the “romance reader”?

Turns out, RWA (Romance Writers of America) commissioned Nielsen to do a survey in 2014

Check these stats and then join me again at the bottom. I need your help.

The Romance Book Buyer

  • Women make up 84 percent of romance book buyers, and men make up 16 percent.
  • In the U.S. romance book buyers are usually between 30 and 54 years of age.
  • 64% read romance more than once a month
  • 1/3 buy romance more than once a month.
  • How long have they been reading romance? 95% read romance for more than 5 years

Top romance subgenres by format read primarily:

  • Print: romantic suspense (53%); contemporary romance (41%); historical romance (34%); erotic romance (33%); New Adult (26%); paranormal romance (19%); Young Adult romance (18%); and Christian romance (17%).
  • E-book: romantic suspense (48%); contemporary romance (44%); erotic romance (42%); historical romance (33%); paranormal romance (30%); New Adult (26%); Young Adult romance (18%); and Christian romance (14%).

Top 10 popular romance tropes: IF APPLICABLE, CAN WE ADD THESE LINES INTO THE BLURB (1) friends to lovers (NAVS); (2) soul mate/fate (SOUL MATES); (3) second chance at love (POGGI); (4) secret romance; (5) first love; (6) strong hero/heroine (POGGI); (7) reunited lovers; (8) love triangle; (9) sexy billionaire/millionaire; (10) sassy heroine (POGGI KINDA)

FYI, Romance buyers also read mystery.

How do romance readers acquire romance books? Top answers:

  • (1) Buy them in stores
  • (2) Buy them online at a retail site (e.g.,
  • (3-10) library, e-reader, borrow them from friends/relatives, mobile app, book club subscription, Oyster, Scribd, Amazon Prime

Which stores have they bought from most often? (1) Barnes & Noble, (2) Walmart; Online store (1)

How They Discover Romance Books: Most-important factor when deciding on which romance novel to buy (ranked from most to least important):

  • (1) The story – how do they get to that? I HAVE TO BELIEVE The Blurb DOES THAT
  • (2) The author – gotta have cred
  • (3) Price
  • (4) Review
  • (5) Part of a series
  • (6) Back cover copy
  • (7) Cover art
  • (8) Recommendations on a social media site
  • (9) Deal/bundle/bargain/special offer
  • (10) An endorsement by another leading author


Top 10 ways romance buyers are most likely to discover new romance authors or titles to read (ranked from most likely to least):

  • (1) Browsing in a bookstore
  • (2) In person recommendation from people you know (see below)
  • (3) Browsing online book sites

Do romance readers talk with friends and acquaintances about romance books they’re reading? 76 percent said yes. The most-popular way romance buyers like to share what romance books they’re reading is in person/one-to-one with friends and family.

Romance readers utilize PRINT 67.5%, eBook  29.5%

E-book pricing: The $6 range is considered a “fair price” for e-books.



I want to market to the folks who will enjoy this extremely romantic, very irreverent, funny as hell book.

What can you suggest?

9 Ways To Avoid A Humiliating Public Failure At Your Book Signing Event


Your humble host.
your humble host

You finally worked up the nerve to ask a real, live bookstore to have you sign books at an event!

Okay, you emailed them.

But they replied and now you have a signing event! Woo hoo!

Uh oh…

A real live event.With people.

Or worse, maybe with NO people.

I can hear your heart pounding from here. You’ve heard horror stories about signings. Nobody came. Nobody bought a book…


It can happen even if you DO plan. So what do you do? After all, for the most part you tend to be humiliation-averse.

Good thing I was here!

I have 9 tips for what you need to make your signing a hit, plus some bonus tips for before and after the event, and a few planning/social media suggestions.

The biggest thing to remember is: don’t act like getting people to the signing is solely the responsibility of the bookstore. In fact, assume they won’t get anybody there.

If you’re unknown to the masses, you can’t really expect people to line up to see you – unless.

Unless what?

Unless you follow these 9 tips. Come on, work with me.

Gleaned from my own prior blog posts,  10 Winning Strategies For Your Author Event and Should You Participate In A Book Fair? Three Points To Consider, and from “35 Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an Event!” by Larry James, The Internet Writing Journal, January 2000

BEFORE THE EVENT – Days/weeks before

Go meet the folks hosting you. Shower and dress nice, the way you might for the event, and bring a copy of the book you want to push. This meeting is kind of an audition, even though you already got the gig. Stopping in to meet the manager/owner/person in charge, at a time that’s good for them, shows them in person how friendly you are and how well you’ll do for their store. Tell them you wanna help market the event, so you have some questions if they don’t mind. Then when they say yes, ask your questions:

  • Can I bring a pop-up banner?
  • How many copies of my book should I bring?
  • Does this forced smile make me look crazy?
  • Can I/should I bring other books besides the main title they agreed to – have these with you; show them to the manager. Often they will say, “Yes, bring those, too.”
  • Where will I be standing and signing? (Scope it out. You wanna have as few surprises the day of the event as possible.)


Ask about having your pop-up banner on display in the store for a week before the event you’ll be signing at, with a stack of pre-signed books. Many managers will be agreeable to the extra advertising.

You will be agreeable to the extra sales. (More on that in a second.)


At the pre-event meeting, ask to take a picture of the manager and yourself with the book, possibly in front of a stack of them or next to its place on the Local Authors bookshelf, so you can post it on your Facebook page and tweet about the event, etc. Tell them this is why you need the picture. They will like your initiative. Promote the crap out of the event several times a week, for weeks before it happens, using those pictures and others, on your Facebook page and Twitter and everywhere else. It’s kind of a big deal. Act like it. One post will not do it. (Remember the horror story you heard about the signing where nobody came? This helps avoid that.)

Be sure to tell friends about the event in person and ask them to stop by, even if it’s just for moral support, but also because the place is great and has cool stuff they’ll wanna see. What stuff? I don’t know; these are your friends – think of something! (At my April signing, they’re giving 50% off any book in stock if a customer buys the featured author’s book. That means I get you the latest James Patterson for half price.) Odds are if you are excited about it, your friends will be. And tell everyone to ask their friends to come by. Maybe have a meet and greet afterwards at a nearby bar. Is this starting to sound more like a fun evening? Good.

Tip 1B: It’s An Event

The place I’m signing at in April is next to a wine shop and a restaurant. I’ll be asking the wine shop owner if she will schedule a special tasting for people I send to her, and I’ll be asking the restaurant owner if they will do a special hours d’ouvre for my guests who come there from the signing. (They are not gonna say no if you are sending them traffic – known to them as potential customers – but if they do say no, send your people anyway and tell them to tell the manager they heard about the place from you. Next time – and there will be a next time – they’ll say yes.) 

Then, take pics of the restaurant and pics of your and the owner, and the wine shop owner, etc., to plaster on social media.

If YOU saw me posting about

  • a book signing, with

  • a special wine tasting, and

  • a special deal at the restaurant,

all as part of a post on Facebook, for an amazing evening event, would that be more interesting to you or less interesting?

Odds are, your bookstore isn’t all by itself. Scope it out and talk to the places nearby. Tell the managers about your event and how you plan to post on social media about it. Think about ways you can get traffic there, and post about it like crazy. Tell everyone you meet for weeks. Don’t worry if they can’t do all three. Tell them to come by and say “Hi.” Traffic is what matters here.

James says call the local newspaper and request that someone come and take pictures for the “feature article” you will also request. Suggest that they interview the book store manager or community relations person. If they like you, they will almost always say great things you and your book.

TIP 2: Make a note of the Local Authors.

The place that has you come for a signing has probably had other local authors come for signings, too. They may have a Local Authors bookshelf. The other local writers may know additional venues to do signings (they will) or they may be interested in combining efforts for cross promotions – they email their newsletter subscribers about your cool new book, and you do the same. Because it works.


Go early and plan an extra hour to set up. Even if it only takes five minutes, plan an hour. Better safe than sorry. Things go wrong. Extra time = less stress. Events are challenging. You’re nervous. You’ll be amazed at how much less stressed you are if you go early.

James recommends: Come bearing gifts! Give the community relations person (or the person who booked the signing) a rose, small bunch of flowers or a tiny box of chocolates. They will not forget YOU!

James also says: request to give an overview of your book to the employees (the manager or owner in a small shop) so THEY can be aware and help sell it when people ask for that kind of book. Book signings are an opportunity to build relationships with the book sellers. I consider book signings as an opportunity to SELL the book sellers on recommending MY books to customers. Books DO NOT sell themselves. People SELL books. Shmooze with the people who take the money from the customers. Get to know the staff at the book store. THEY can help you continue to sell your books LONG AFTER you have gone! (And before you even get there, if you’re allowed to set up a pop-up banner the week before the signing. That whole week, the manager can tell customers what your book is about!)


Tip 3: Stand and smile.

First, you STAND because you’re gonna be interacting. That means wear comfortable shoes. You SMILE because you are approachable.

STAND: If you sit you are less likely to engage with the people meandering around (known as prospective readers) – and more likely to reach for your iPhone. If you stand – and if your iPhone is under the table where you can’t get to it – you’ll be more likely to engage with those prospective readers (known as people who buy books). That’s why you’re there, so engage.  Stand. And stay off your phone.

SMILE: You are not in the Miss America pageant, but for the length of the event, your face needs to pretend you are, and that means a BIG SMILE. You need an appearance that says you are happy. Even when nobody’s at your table. You can do it, and you can take Advil afterwards for those aching cheek muscles.


That also means NOT reading your iPhone! Being on your phone says This Event Sucks or I’m Not Selling Any Books – which to a prospective reader says THAT BOOK SUCKS OR IT WOULD BE SELLING. That’s bad.

Most people tend to get a restful face or a semi-frown when they are reading on their iPhone. Their head is down and their body language says “don’t bother me.” That’s bad for sales, too! Instead, you want your appearance to say, “Hey, I am a happy/ friendly/ approachable person – coincidentally I would like to tell you about this awesome book/sell you its sequel. Let’s be friends. Come talk to me. There may be cookies over here.

Tip 4: Walk around!

Larry James also says: Walk around the store with several copies of your book and introduce yourself to everyone. (Folks, that is brilliant – Dan) If those you introduce yourself to show the least bit of interest, hand them a book. They will almost always take it. Tell them to look at it and bring it back to the table when they are finished.


You: Hi, I’m Dan Alatorre, the featured local author tonight. Thanks for coming in!

Them: Hi. Oh yeah, I saw your banner when I came in.

You, handing them your book: Awesome! This is my latest title, The Navigators. Have a look at it and bring it back to the table when you’re done. Thanks for coming!


You can do that.

Yes, you can.

James says on average, he more than tripled his book sales at signings by implementing this tip. (That’s a solid idea – Dan) James recommends letting the manager know you will be the store’s official greeter while you are there.

You can do that, too.

Tip 5: A Trick For The Table

This is brilliant, also from James: When people stop by your autograph table, as you are introducing yourself, hand them a copy of your book.

  • Many people will not pick up your book, but most will take it if you hand it to them.
  • If they begin to read it, that’s your cue to keep quiet.

My book sales at back of the room and at book signings have increased significantly since using this tip.

Tip 6: Announcements

If the store does announcements, James recommends writing your own announcement for the book store’s intercom. Make it short and brief. Give them several versions, because they usually announce that you are there several times. Don’t hesitate to remind them to make the announcement again if it’s been awhile since the last announcement. They will often get busy and forget. Every half hour should do it

Tip 7: Your signup list

If it’s cool with the manager, have a newsletter sign up list handy (name, email address), and encourage people to sign it. Maybe a $25 Amazon card, maybe a gift certificate to the store, your call – and run it by the manager first. Oh, and start the event with a few friends’ names and emails, or fake ones, already on your signup sheet. Nobody likes to go first, but everybody will do whatever everyone else is doing.  If you are putting the names on paper and putting them in a jar, fold a dozen up and put them in the jar before the event so it looks “busy” already.

Tip 8: Autographs

ALWAYS sign your books at events. As James notes, some people are too shy to ask for your autograph. Simply say, “Here, let me sign that for you.”

Tip 9: Be Unique

James says: Come up with a special way of signing your name every time you sign your books. For many years, I have signed books, “(their name), Celebrate Love! Larry James.” (I really like this idea, kinda how Walt Disney’s autograph was so distinctive; definitely worth some thought – Dan)

AFTER THE EVENT – Two bonus tips from James, one from me.

I’ve done lots and lots of events. You may not get mobbed with adoring fans. In fact, plan for that to not happen. These have been suggestions for if there are people; here are a few for if there aren’t.

Chat with the manager about upcoming events and about your book. The story. The place gets customers, just not tonight. Shrug it off. You learned stuff. You made a friend who sells books for you. There’ll be another day. They’ll have other events, so get scheduled for those. When one works, the rest will, too. Don’t expect to hit a home run the first time at bat.

Do a “Facebook live” with you and the manager. Have the manager ask a few pre-planned questions and have your (relatively short) answers ready. Talk about how great the store is and how helpful the staff is. If it’s really dead, do a few of these, like it’s a big deal. Your friends will see them (eventually) so it still helps your overall platform.

Take lots of pictures, like you didn’t already, of the store and your book and the manager and you, all smiling. It’ll remind the manager that you will be promoting the event afterwards, too. These pics will be good for social media later, and if there is anybody in the place, try to get a picture with you and them in the shot. Ask the manager to take casual shots of you with customers. (They’ll all look good because you’re smiling, remember?)

And some don’ts:

  • Don’t complain if you don’t sell lots of books. It happens. It’ll probably happen your first time out, or maybe more than that, so expect it. Signings make those who bought your book feel good, but they really don’t sell lots of books while you are there, UNLESS you create a presence WHILE YOU ARE THERE! But networking with the manager will get books sold for a long time afterward, so remember that’s a goal of the signing, too.
  • Don’t show your disappointment if you don’t sell very many books. It only creates bad will. Nuff said!

DO: Send the manager a written “thank you” card. Nobody does that any more, but everybody appreciates it.


Copy down a few awesome ideas from this post and print them out. Take that to your event. All the “before” and “after” event stuff, you need to do, but the “during” stuff can be hard to remember when the event is happening. A printed list will help you. Glance at it periodically and do the stuff you haven’t been doing. No need to try to remember, so you can relax, and no excuses! You can do these things!

Whether it goes well or badly, set up your next event signing. Practice makes perfect. You may have to do a few before it clicks, but usually these signings don’t cost you anything, as opposed to a book fair that does, so learn how to do them while it’s free.

Trying to get into a better venue? Use the fact that you did a signing at XYZ Bookstore as a door opener in your request. It all helps.

Got ideas? Post YOUR suggestions below!

WRITING CHALLENGE: See It, Write It – PLUS! A Special Announcement About My First Word Weaver WRITING CONTEST

Your humble host.
your humble host

This week’s writing challenge looks kinda hard, so a LOT of you are not gonna wanna do it, but you’re ALL gonna wanna hear about the SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.

First, the writing challenge. Hey, no pain, no gain.

Here is a road rage scene from the movie Marathon Man. Watch it…

Okay, NOW what I want you to do is one of three things. (Extra points for number three)


  1. Describe the place where dramatic irony occurs. Can you introduce that in a written scene? How would you do it? (Don’t know what dramatic irony is? Join the club.) OR
  2. Describe the action in the chase scene between the Mercedes Driver (The Nazi) and the Caprice driver (The Jewish Guy). Can you write that scene? Why or why not? OR
  3. The place where the nanny is crossing the street and the little girl almost gets run over – HOW would you set that up in a written story so we jump when we read it?*

Okay, you got me – I really just wanna know about #3.

Arrrggghhh!! I can’t figure it out!!

See, in a movie, they can cut away and cut back and you are surprised at what’s there when you see it.

They can jump out of a closet and say, “Boo!” and scare a viewer.


How do you get the kid there and also scare a reader with the surprise of almost getting run over?

*Have you seen that done in a book? (Feel free to cite examples. That will count.)

Honestly, I’d be happy with some references and a discussion on what might work as much as somebody actually writing any of the three points above.

What do you think?

How would you do it, or have you seen it in writing someplace?

Okay, now…

Drumroll, please

Announcing the Word Weaver Writing Contest!

Word Weaver logi FINAL

On the first Friday of April, I will announce the rules for our first quarterly writing contest. We will do three this year.

There will be prizes!

Right now I’m talking to people about

  • $50, $25 and $10 Amazon gift cards (I will provide those)
  • signed paperbacks, by me and other authors/sponsors (you could be one of those)
  • book covers from real cover designers,
  • editing services
  • on and on.

YOU will have the month of April to enter an amazing piece of your own writing to our contest.

But I’m not telling you all the details now, because it starts in April. Don’t worry; as a friend of the blog, you’ll have an advantage. Probably.

Are you excited? I am.

On Friday April 7, 2017, you’ll learn all about the contest.

Oh, and you might wanna make an attempt at this week’s challenge, too. Just sayin’.

DO YOU NEED PUBLICITY for your book or website? Be a SPONSOR of the Word Weaver Writing Contest.

It’s cheap and easy!

We all hate marketing. Make it easy on yourself.

This contest will be seen by THOUSANDS of people. (Hey, YOU saw it, right?)

I have over 2,000 blog followers, over 13,000 Twitter followers, over 1,000 Facebook Author Page followers, and I will be advertising this contest in lots of places.

YOU will get LOTS of exposure as a sponsor – and it’s cheap!

Sure, I want big sponsors, but I don’t need that right away, and maybe not at all. I have lots of friends – you, for example – that need to get publicity for a book or service. Keep it in the family, I say.

We will use paperback copies of your book to be awarded, or a session of your editing, your cover design service – anything writing related! Who edited your book? Ask them to donate a service in exchange for getting their name under the noses of a bunch of people who need it! Who was your book cover designer? Give me their name. Use the contact me button to let me know. Let’s talk!

This is really gonna be fun, and after a few quarterly contests we’re gonna be swamped with entries, so be sure to tell your friends to get in early! (You should probably reblog this right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

The more sponsors, the more prizes.

The more prizes, the more interest.

The more interest, the more exposure to your book or service – and YOU, if you enter the contest!

As a friend of the blog, you’ll get priority. Donating 5 eBooks costs you almost nothing, but you might get a much needed review out of it. Mailing 5 copies of your signed paperback costs about $20 (here’s info on using the post office’s inexpensive media mail). WHERE CAN YOU GET AN AD FOR TWENTY BUCKS???

Well, here. In this contest. Otherwise, not a lot of places. And I’ll be telling winners to review your book.

And I’ll be advertising the contest, too, so you’ll get that added exposure.

Does this sound fun?

Writer stuff usually is.

A real writing contest with prizes.

A chance to be a sponsor and get new people aware of your book (hello, reviews) or service.


Get ready. I think April is gonna be a blast.

And take a whack at that scene from Marathon Man, would ya? It’s driving me nuts.


We need a LOT of publicity for this thing!!

Your humble host.

REBLOG me! And please SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

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!

Also available in paperback and audio book.

What Do YOU Think?

Don’t forget: BIG announcement tomorrow!!

Be sure to check back!

(Are you excited to see what it is? I am.)

I’m interested in getting your thoughts about stuff I see and hear, quotes I read, stuff that passes as knowledge – and starting an authorey conversation.


It really is, isn’t it?

Putting your stuff out there for people to possibly laugh at or ridicule…that’s big.

Faith is an understatement, but it’s a pretty good word, and it means you’re brave for doing this stuff. Remember that.

What are YOUR thoughts on this idea?