Help me pick some ads!

Your humble host.
your inquiring host

This should only take a minute.

It’s the big launch weekend for my newest book, Poggibonsi, an Italian misadventure, so I’m making some ads.

Fun stuff, right? Well, you need to learn this too, so pay attention.

Please scroll through these mock-ups and tell me if any strike your fancy.

You can buy Poggi this weekend for just 99 cents, then the price goes up – so act fast! But today I need input on what ads to run to catch other people’s eyes

You’re not going to offend anybody; just say, “I like Annette’s ad,” or “I don’t like Curtis’ one.”

If you say, “Screw the ads, I hated this book!” …we probably can’t be friends anymore.

Also, you can say, “I like the color of this one with that one’s words/layout/something. Any feedback is helpful. These folks didn’t make the ads, so they won’t be upset if you don’t like the ads. Probably.

Oh, and you might notice – I try to use YOUR Ammy review. If you are an author, I like to make ads that mention YOUR BOOK title!

Just another perk of being a loyal reader of the blog. Does Stephen King do that for you? No, he does not.

YOUR NAME AND BOOK TITLE in MY national advertising campaign. Because you guys rock and I like to help my friends. (So if you were thinking about doing a review…)

Okay. Get to work and look over these ads:

Fave 1 anne marie B 1

ABOVE: “Pretty sexy” ad with quotes from Anne Marie (we will stick her name in there on the final version)

Fave 2 anne rochelle aben 2

ABOVE: “love the characters” ad featuring Annette Rochelle Aben’s Amazon review

Fave 3 curtis bausse redo 1

ABOVE: “Funny and Sexy” ad featuring Curtis Bausse’s Amazon review

Fave 4 Grady redone 2

ABOVE” “Romance black background” ad featuring Amazon Top Reviewer Grady Harp’s review

Fave 5 Grady redone 3

ABOVE” “Romance white background” ad featuring Amazon Top Reviewer Grady Harp’s review

Fave 6 jess new

ABOVE” “Smart and HOT” ad featuring Jess’ Ammy review. (Say the word, Jess, and you’ll have your full name and book title. I didn’t do it because it wasn’t on Ammy that way and I always want to get permission first.)

Fave 7 SKIRT am 1

ABOVE: “Skirt Anne Marie” featuring Anne Marie’s review

Fave 8 SKIRT am 6

ABOVE: same ad with the book inserted. “Skirt + Book Anne Marie” featuring Anne Marie’s review

Fave 9 Skirt AR Aben 1

ABOVE: again, the same ad with different font colors “Skirt + Colored fonts Anne Marie” featuring Anne Marie’s review

Fave 10 Skirt DG Kaye 4

ABOVE: “Skirt DG Kaye” featuring Debby’s book title Conflicted Hearts. This adds credibility to the ad and also gets Debby some pub.

Fave 11 Skirt DG Kaye 6

ABOVE: “Skirt DG Kaye + Review box” featuring Debby’s actual Ammy review headline


That’s it!

Give me YOUR thoughts! 

Thanks in advance!

Your humble host.New Authors: asking for the opinion of fans and friends will save you LOTS of money on bad ads. The key is, you have to tell them to be honest and you have to accept their input. Post stuff like this on your blog, Facebook page, and Twitter, and after about 10-20 votes a clear winner emerges every time. 100 votes later, the winner will still be the same, so tons of followers aren’t necessary – and you save $$$ posting better ads than if you did this alone.

Please share this with your friends and reblog it! I want all the input I can get!

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.”

Click HERE to get your copy of the funniest, sexiest book you’ll read this year!



Your humble host.
your humble host

We had a LOT of fun with this last time we did it, so it’s time to try it again.


Haiku Edition

What is a haiku and why do we want to write one?

To stretch some new writer muscles of course! And because it’ll be fun. Probably. Or at least funny. And since we’re all gonna play, it should be a kick.


But… do you want to?

Sure! It’s easy and fun. But first an ad for my writing contest:

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed

Hey, I’m having a WRITING CONTEST this month – wanna enter?

  • Get valuable FEEDBACK on your writing

  • Possibly win a share of $400 in PRIZES

  • Be the envy of your friends with MASSIVE BRAGGING RIGHTS

  • Cool e-ribbons you can proudly display if you win

Check it out and enter by clicking HERE.

(You really should enter that. Now back to Haikus.)

Well, first things first: what the heck is a haiku?

The Japanese invented it, according to Wiki, sometime before they got into the automotive and electronics business. It’s a “poem”  (apparently a non-rhyming one) done in a specific pattern of syllables. Don’t ask me why.

Wiki wouldn't lie, would it?
Wiki wouldn’t lie, would it?

17 total syllables in the haiku, done in three lines, 5-7-5 format:

  • five syllables in the first line
  • seven syllables in the second line
  • and five syllables again, in the last line.

Simple, right?

And it’s a poem, but it doesn’t needs to rhyme.

(I guess you get extra points if it does.) 

EXAMPLE 1: provided by a friend who used to teach poetry! She knocked this out in like ten seconds.


Red wine in my glass

Shimmering under the lights

You get me wasted


Is that cool or what? Ten seconds!


(I gave her a random topic of shoes)

White and blue sneakers

Inappropriate for work

Wear them anyway



(To stump her, I gave her a word that’s hard to rhyme: oranges)

Juicy in segments

Tropical citrus delight

Burns my papercut


Okay, they can’t all be winners.


Now, what are we writing this haiku about? Aha, that’s the even more fun part. I don’t know.

You’ll use a random topic generator to decide what your haiku is about.

It should give us some very interesting stuff!

Only click it once!
Only click it once!



CLICK HERE for your random topic.



Here are THE RULES

  1. Go to the random topic generator, select it one time, and you HAVE to write a haiku about that. No cheating.
  2. Post your haiku on your blog.
  3. Tell your readers what your random topic was so they don’t think you’re having a stroke.
  4. Reference us on your blog, further clarifying to your readers that you are definitely not having a stroke.
  5. Post your haiku (and or a link to your haiku) in the comments section, below.

  6. Brag to friends at parties about how versatile a writer you are.
  7. You have 48 hours from when you read this! LIKE the post so I know you read it and that will start the clock, so to speak. There’s not really a clock. Or a deadline, Jenny.
  8. Extra points if you do it drunk.
  9. ENTER AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE! More is better. And funner.

  10. And yes I know that’s not a word.






PoggiREBLOG me! Or 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 hilarious novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” PRE-ORDER THE FUNNY, SEXY POGGIBONSI HERE FOR $0.99 LIMITED TIME. Price goes up to $2.99 on April 20.

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.

0000 tc iii

I love this for its simplicity. Have fun on your blog or Facebook or Twitter, or don’t do it – but your fans will eventually find you. So do it how you want.

I wish more of you had the confidence to follow your gut, even when you are clueless. I’ve made more mistakes than you probably ever will, and I’m still here. Turns out, nobody reaches through the internet and punches you in the nose when you make a mistake. You’ll be okay.

What are YOUR thoughts on this idea?

3 Cures For “Can’t Finish-itis”

Your humble host.
your humble host

I made a new friend at a book signing the other day, and I heard something I have heard a LOT from people who want to write a book or are writing one they can’t seem to finish.

I hear this all the time, so I thought I should address it.

We’ll call it “Can’t Finish-itis.”

It’s a terrible affliction, but there are cures.

Here’s an example from a blog post of an obviously dismayed author friend, followed by my reply – but first an ad for my writing contest:

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed

Hey, I’m having a WRITING CONTEST this month – wanna enter?

  • Get valuable FEEDBACK on your writing

  • Possibly win a share of $400 in PRIZES

  • Be the envy of your friends with MASSIVE BRAGGING RIGHTS

  • Cool e-ribbons you can proudly display if you win

Check it out and enter by clicking HERE.

You really should enter that…

Anyway, back to our story:

…it seems as if I’ve just wasted the last (fill in your number here of the weeks, months or years) of my life writing a story no one will ever be interested in EVER. It should be printed off only to be burned in a barrel and then bombed with a nuclear warhead. I have THREE chapters left to write. THREE. At the end of the summer, in September, I had FIVE.

 This week I sat down to write and . . . nothing happened. I stared at a blinking cursor for six hours. Well, that’s not entirely true. I checked my email. I went to town on Twitter. I cleaned the house and did two loads of laundry. I watched a few cat videos on Facebook.

 AND I deleted two thousand words from my latest draft

This is what we call the being on the ledge.

It’s a later stage of Cant Finish-itis because when you get overwhelmed, getting to the words THE END becomes more and more elusive.

  • suddenly there is a need for constant rewrites

  • a compelling urge to add NEW stuff you’ve now decided is critical to your story

  • work gets busy/busier/insane

  • holidays arrive. (It’s not like we know when Christmas comes. Every year. ON the same date.)

  • summer = kids without school = no free time AT ALL

  • other stuff. You know what you get distracted by.

Occasionally I’ll see a writer out there on the ledge and I’ll talk them back in through a window. Just as often they let me know they’re out on the ledge and I talk them down. But on rare occasions they get out there and start deleting thousands of words and then it’s more a matter of getting them to hit the net when they jump.

Or if they slip.

You don’t strike me as a jumper so we’ll say slip. Yeah, that’s it. The ledge needed cleaning and next thing you know you were out there on it. It happens.

But the fact is, it is hard to finish that first book!

So “Can’t Finish-itis” can happen to any of us. You’re chugging along thinking positive thoughts about yourself and your writing, and then you reread a chapter of your GAM (Great American Novel) it and you’re like whaaat? Or a trusted CP (Critique Partner) starts asking if you wrote you latest submission while under the influence of prescription cough medicine.

Okay, so what do we know, and what do we do about it?

Cos if you think I’m gonna hold your hand, you might have shot me a Facebook message  BEFORE you deleted thousands of words – and managed to write a thousand on your blog lamenting… your inability to write? Do I have that correct?

Well, I love irony as much as the next guy. Heck, maybe more. I even have sympathy for anybody buried under a foot of snow while I contemplate whether I’ll wear a sweatshirt with my shorts as I go buy chlorine for the pool. (I decided yes on the sweatshirt, but only because it was a little windy that morning.)

Okay, sister, time for the tough love.

If you think this is the hard part, you are wrong. This writing stuff? This is the easy part. Even when it’s hard, it’s easy. The hard part – the part we refer to as the abyss – that’s when you press the “publish” button and a few weeks go by and nothing really happens. Or you get three or four bad reviews in a row. Or your sales drop for some unknown reason. Or you have no sales and you suddenly realize it’s been quite a while since you did have some.

We talked about the emotional roller coaster that is authordom, HERE.

You’ll want to crawl under a rock and question your right to exist because nobody anywhere wants to read your story. Or review it. Or recommend it to friends. Or any one of a thousand other ways your shiny new manuscript will bring harm to your delicate little writer psyche.

But there’s good news! I can help you avoid the abyss!

And I could have helped you avoid the freaking ledge! Do you not know how to get ahold of me? Facebook, Twitter, the Contact Me button on the blog, Instagram, Pinterest… You can call. I’m in the book, for pete’s sake. There’s like two guys with my name in the whole United States and I’m not the radical priest in Texas.

Okay, okay, here’s the deal:

  1. You have probably written/are writing a pretty good book. You may still f*ck it up, but more than likely it’s completely readable and interesting. (Amazeballs in Jennyspeak.) How can I say this? You’re here on my site, which means you have a clue and you give a damn, and you know the difference. I don’t say that to everybody – check the array of carcasses in my critique group that got a “better luck next time” card from me. My readers have, almost without exception, been good writers. (I say almost because nobody bats .1000)
  1. If it was easy, everybody would write a book. 80% of US Americans want to and the vast majority don’t.
  1. Of those who attempt to write a book, MOST SUCK. Your book probably does not suck. (See #1)
  1. You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for that help when you’re blocked. (And I don’t mean constipated, but I’m sure you know somebody to call about that, too. It’s not me. I wanna get on the record about that right now.)
  1. You are beautiful, funny, interesting, and a nice person. And your family loves you. Probably friends, too; I only know you online. But let’s give you that one, too.
  1. You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed. Sometimes that means goofing off with them for an hour on Facebook Messenger until they prod you to get creative and clear the logjam. After all, you managed to put down tens of thousands of words in a mostly cohesive string so far. Odds are a few more thousand are in you. Here’s proof, click HERE.
  1. This was not going to be a list but what the hell, it is now.
  1. As a list, it needed to stop at three or five, but once we sailed past those, ten seemed to be the magic number.
  1. Have a drink. (Like I need to tell you that.) Try writing drunk, like Hemingway said – write drunk, edit sober. It’s worth a shot (get it? Shot?) You may come up with something really interesting. You may not. But at least you’ll be drunk. And cut back on the cat videos. They obviously aren’t helping.
  1. You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed.

Whatever way is needed.

WHAT EVER way is needed.

You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed.

Get it?

Let them.

Okay, so I said three. Here are the three: 

  • Don’t stop writing the story, but don’t rewrite the story. Get it down and get it done and let CP’s have a look. Self analysis is self paralysis. (If you say you don’t have time, consider how much TV you watch and other distractions. Focus! We ALL have 24 hours in a day. The friend who writes makes that time, it’s not a miracle happening over at their house.) Let your CP’s help decide what works and what doesn’t. (You can find out about CPs HERE)
  • Most people wanna write a book and never do. If yours is any good, and I bet it is, stop depriving the word of it. Just finishing the book puts you into an elite class, because everybody wants to write a book and most don’t. You’re almost there. Once done, you are forever a published author, and believe it or not, somebody somewhere may say you wrote their favorite story – but not until you finish the story. Stop depriving them of that. If that phrase sounded good, let it motivate you.
  • You have more than one great story in you. Everything doesn’t have to be in the first book. Finish this one and get on to the second one. (BTW, If somebody discouraged you – even if it was you – it’s time to set that aside and finish. YOU decide this stuff. Do you wanna be an author or not? Finish the book. Then you are one. Doesn’t matter if it was a week ago or ten years ago, if you wanted to write, write. Finish. Be what you wanted to be, not the owner of a spoiled dream.)

Be what you wanted to be, not the owner of a spoiled dream.


head shot
Your humble host

REBLOG me! Or 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 upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

Author Interview: 21 Questions With Yecheilyah Ysrayl


Your humble host.
your humble host

Occasionally on the blog we will talk with one of our author friends, gaining valuable insights into their behind the scene world. Today we meet with Yecheilyah Ysrayl, an extraordinary writer and book blogger, among other things.


Join me as we delve deep – or as deep as we can in 21 Questions; not everybody gives up the goods – with Yecheilyah.


  1.  DAN: Welcome to the blog! What is the working title of your next book?

YecheilyahThank you, Dan, for having me. The working title for my next book is Renaissance and it’s Book One in The Nora White Story. It releases in 116 days, 15 hours, 30mins and 40 seconds from now. Not that you care.

  1. That’s more precise than my alarm clock! Tell me, how hard was it to hit that “Publish” button the first time and send your book into the world? Looking back, what can you tell new authors about that experience?
yecheilyah 1
author Yecheilyah Ysrayl

It wasn’t hard at all because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing! My first real book was my first collection of poetry and all I cared about was seeing my poems in print. I also wanted to have a compilation of them aside from my notebooks so I thought, “Why not?” So, I uploaded the unedited copy of poems to Lulu with a Lulu ready-made cover and published it, waited for the proof to come in the mail and did a nice little happy dance when it did. I don’t even know if I comprehended the magnitude of what just happened or if I fully understood what Self-Publishing was. As I look back despite how mediocre the work was, it still reached someone. So, what would I tell new authors about this experience? Get out there! Sure, you may start off sucking (I still suck) but there’s no next time without the first time. Go for it, why not?


  1. Time and effort = sucking less. We all improve with each story. What kind of kid were you in high school?

The boring kind. I literally did nothing. And if I did something it was only the most boring thing. For instance, I joined the Year Book Team. Who does that? Except it wasn’t really a team considering it was just me and the teacher but team sounds better. I did get out of class a lot, though, that was cool. Got to follow the cool kids around with my camera. Oh, and poetry. I joined a poetry club with some other nerds. I think it was like five of us? No, seven. OK, ten. Definitely ten. I think. Anyway, UMOJA Spoken Word was the name of it. Otherwise, I spent my time reading. Real exciting.

  1. Have you ever broken a bone?

yecheilyah 4Actually, yes. Yes, I did break a bone. I was hit by a car running across the street trying to get ice cream when I was ten and broke my leg. No, I’m not making this up. True story. So, the ice cream truck is singing down the street and I’ve got a dollar (a WHOLE dollar) burning a hole in my pocket. So, I decide I’m just going to run across the street really quick and buy some ice cream. Now, I have a twin sister and she told me not to go but I’m the oldest by 5 minutes. I didn’t have to listen to her. Anyway, ended up getting hit, broke my femur bone got a steel plate put in and 24 surgical staples. I have both the scar and the steel plate right now. The plate will be there for life and I suppose so will the scar.

  1. Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?

Of course, you can wash light and dark together! I mean, do people still separate clothes? Like, is that still a thing? I don’t know. But yes, of course.

  1. What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

yecheilyah 5Wow, there are many. Some of the most prevalent are probably that we are all mediocre in production, know nothing about publishing, and that we spend all our time on social media. That’s alright. Keep underestimating us. We’ll keep making Best Seller’s lists and drink red wine while Hollywood turn our Self-Published books into movies.

  1. What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

Hmmm. Probably that I don’t drive. Yet. Alright, everyone can stop laughing now. But yea, that.

8 .      I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

You mean other than the 116 days, 15 hours, 30 mins and 40 seconds from now that my next book is coming out? Besides this, I have teamed up with some exciting groups that I hope will help better my understanding of book publishing and expand my ability to be of service to the community and one of them is Rave Reviews Book Club. I decided to go ahead and apply and have recently become a member. I am excited to get started and to learn.

  1. What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?

yecheilyah 6It depends. Is there wine? Because if there’s wine I prefer late nights when the house is sleep. That way I can talk to myself and not have to explain why.  If there is no wine but there’s coffee, I prefer the early mornings for the same reason.

  1. Coffee addict? Name your poison.

I do need to be in AA for coffee. It wouldn’t be AA though huh? More like CA anonymous. Like, it really doesn’t make any sense. When I don’t have French Vanilla Cream I am even starting to make exceptions for drinking “when-you-just-have-some-sugar-and-some-powder-cream-but-it’s-still-nasty-so-it-may-as-well-be-black” coffee. Now you know that’s bad. Black coffee is disgusting.

 11. Tell me about your first kiss. Did it make it into a book?

Wow, Dan. You’re digging deep aren’t ya?

My first kiss was the worst thing ever. It was like letting somebody slob on you. I hate even thinking about it. Yuck.

Next question, please.

 12. What’s the best movie you have ever seen?

Oh, my gosh! OK. My most favorite movie is Lean on Me. Yassss. (“Free Mr. Clark!”) Of course, there are more profound movies than this but this one, in particular, I can watch every day, all day and not think about it. Just have it playing in the background. That is because it combines my two favorite things: Children and education. I love the little ones and anything that promotes something positive for them is close to my heart. It also helps that the movie is based on a true story which adds to my love for History.

 13. Do you have any children?

yecheilyah 2I have two daughters. The world would call them my stepdaughters but I don’t really believe in that. If you are with someone, what is part of them is part of you. So, I have two beautiful daughters and a little grandbaby who is the cutest little baby EVER. I mean seriously, in the whole world. Otherwise, I have no children biologically. We are working on that, though. Stay tuned.

 14. Are you married? How Long? How did you meet? Spill it!

OK, OK, sheesh. I met my husband back in 2007 at school and we were both in the same class. I was there by mistake. I was supposed to be in a different class but it was full so I had to take this one. So, we’re waiting for the professor to come (more like counting down the seconds before we would all just go home. How are you late on the first day?)

and in walks this cutie. I’m talking about, FINE. Ya’ll hear me? He had it going all the way on.

We all thought he was the teacher because of the way he took control. He told us we should put our names on a piece of paper so the teacher can know who was there. Smart AND sexy? Long story short, he became mine. May 16th will mark ten years we’ve been together.

15. What is one thing you always wished you could change about yourself?

I’m the most serious-sensitive person you’ve ever met! If there is one thing I could change it will be not to take things so personally. I tend to be very disciplined but my heart is soft. Don’t hurt my feelings, Dan. It wouldn’t be good.

 16. How many story ideas are in your “good ideas” file? What are some of them?

yecheilyah 7Oh man, you really trying to have your readers here all night huh? Let’s see. I have tons of story ideas that I consider good but there’s a reason they are still in my file folder. First, there is Queen, a Historical Fiction story I started working years ago, set in 1619 about a young woman in Ghana who is getting ready to transition into womanhood. All the women of her village are about to undergo the exciting process of dating and being chosen to be wives, to wear long flowing dresses, bangles, and nose rings. But something happens. Before the sun rises on the next day the village is raided and the young woman is taken captive in what would be known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Then there is Carbon, a short story I started writing about a businessman who becomes wealthy off his fragrance enterprise. In short, his selective fragrance becomes the next Victoria’s Secret and the media is having a field day. A successful journalist is charged with interviewing him. She’s not impressed by his fame, at least not until he sweeps her off her feet. She discovers later that there is something weird about this man. After barely surviving his abuse she discovers this man is a clone. A carbon copy of another man. But will the rest of the world believe her?

 17. Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?

I would buy drinks for Bloggers and Authors Lisa W. Tetting and Colleen Chesebro because they support everything that I do sincerely.

There are people who will support you but you can also tell their heart is not really in it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There’s something about you they just don’t get, maybe they think you’re an amateur or maybe they just don’t get you period.

Not these two. Lisa and Colleen support me for real. Not for fake. I would also buy drinks for Terry McMillian. Her books are the bomb, specifically I am attracted to her character development. I would love some insight on her process.

18. What kind of Chinese food do you order all the time?

I don’t eat Chinese Food. When I did, shrimp fried rice was my thing. I don’t eat shrimp anymore though. Plus, there’s this mental thing I have with Chinese Food. The restaurants are always next to pet hospitals. No offense if you’re Chinese. I’m just not a fan of the food.

19. How did your blog start?

I started my blog in 2014 randomly actually (Do I say “actually” a lot? Smh) I was blogging under another blog name, A House of Poetry, which was a poetry blog filled with nothing but poetry. Wait, I just said that. Anywho, when I came out with the book, Pearls Before Swine, I decided to start a blog under the same name. Over time the name took on a deeper meaning but that was the initial inspiration. Again, it’s all about getting out there. I would have never met you and the other awesome bloggers and authors in the blogosphere. Yes, Dan, I just called you awesome.

20. What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?

Keep your plans and intentions to yourself. There’s too much advice out here, some good and some not so good.

Either way, you will be confused and frustrated if you let everyone know your next move. Writing Secret: Keep both your income and next move to yourself.

21. What is the single most important quality in a novel; what must an author do to win you over?

The single, most important quality in a novel for me is relatable and realistic character development. Characters that act and speak like normal people would and makes decisions in like manner. I am turned off by characters who hate ice cream in Chapter One and in Chapter Two, after one person just convinced them, they love it. That’s not realistic. It will take a real person time to build up to it.

Important Stuff: The links

yecheilyah 1Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Author, Poet, Blogger, Book Reviewer
Literary Korner Publishing

Pearls Before Swine blog.

Yecheilyah, thank you so much for dropping by and sharing your story! I love learning other authors’ processes.

Gang, check out her books and her blog. There’s a lot there, so follow her. I do!

Flash Fiction Challenge: Opening Sentence MashUps

A brief ad before today’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Gotta pay the bills.

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed

Hey, I’m having a WRITING CONTEST this month – wanna enter?

  • Get valuable FEEDBACK on your writing

  • Possibly win a share of $400 in PRIZES

  • Be the envy of your friends with MASSIVE BRAGGING RIGHTS

  • Cool e-ribbons you can proudly display if you win

Check it out and enter by clicking HERE.

Your humble host.
your humble host

This will be fun.

Somehow, I discovered this hugely amusing website that gives you an opening sentence to your story.

What was amusing about it, though was…

it kinda works.

1st line generator 1

Some of the opening lines it generates are pretty darned good. As in, I’d read on if I were reading them at the start of a book.

Check it out.

1st line generator 0

Not bad, right?

1st line generator 2

Funny! But I want to read more.

1st line generator 3

A little strange, but okay…

1st line generator 4Ooh. Intrigue.

1st line generator 5I really like that one.

1st line generator 6A bit bizarre, but it makes me want to read on.

After a while, you see a few kinda sound the same, just with different nouns throw in.

That got me to thinking.

“The last camel died at noon” is often referred to as the best opening line ever.

“Call me Ishmael” is maybe the most memorable.

I did a whole post on how BAD lots of bestsellers’ and classics’ opening lines were. They suck, a lot of them. (Click HERE and HERE and HERE for that bit of fun – they don’t all suck.)


The ones that don’t suck are often pretty good and they are that way because they do what the website says, they make you want to read on.

(Another quick ad. I have lots of bills!)

PRE-ORDER my hilarious romantic comedy Poggibonsi, An Italian Misadventure NOW for just $0.99 Click HERE!


(preorder price good until April 20)

Read a sample chapter HERE

“Outrageously funny”

Poggibonsi is disarmingly charming; a laugh-out-loud, bumbling romp through lust and love in central Italy. Alatorre captures the breathtaking romance of the novel’s namesake perfectly, peeling back each layer of story until all that remains is genuine, raw emotion. An outrageously funny, guilty pleasure of a read.

– J. A. Allen, Old Souls

(Okay, ad over.)


An opening line that makes you want to read on – that’s kind of the point, right?

And as much as I hate writing blurbs, I love writing opening lines – to the point where I will compile a lot of the story but not start writing in earnest until that magical opening line comes to me. At least, what I think I want when I start. Often we change our minds by the time we are finished.

Anyway, it made me realize two things:

  1. Opening lines are more fun when they aren’t yours

  2. There really is a kind of formula to them


Today’s Flash Fiction Challenge takes place on two levels

First, take a shot at the opening line generator a few times until a line grabs you.

Then using the random number generator HERE, replace the nouns in the opening sentence with nouns from the list below:

  1. Bulldozer
  2. Mouse
  3. Butt
  4. Skyscraper
  5. Bunny
  6. Banana
  7. Gravestone
  8. Soap dish
  9. Shoelace
  10. Box of rocks
  11. Pomegranate
  12. Horse

(You can cheat a little, if the opportunity for something really funny requires a tad of creativity.)

3. Post your result in the comments section of this post.

The second challenge is much harder

After playing with the opening sentence generator a few times (okay, an hour) there seemed to be three or four distinct versions. One is a lot like camel died at noon, and others have a feel of some classic stories – which was intended, but it made me wonder – could we crack the code?

Can we determine just what the heck the structure is for that amazing opening sentence, so we can drop our own stuff in and have it work for us?

I don’t know.

Anyway, give it a shot on either level, and post your resulting sentence in the contents section. If you try to crack the code, or see a pattern, give me your thoughts on that, too.

Ready, set… Go!


Your humble host.
your humble host
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.

PRE-ORDER Dan’s hilarious romantic comedy Poggibonsi, An Italian Misadventure NOW. Click HERE before April 20, 2017 to get it for $0.99.