dan 3The romantic comedy everyone’s talking about, Poggibonsi, an Italian misdventure, is on sale TODAY for just 99 cents!

If you’ve ever found value in this blog, do me a favor:

  • buy Poggi (click HERE)

  • love it or hate it, leave a review on Amazon (click HERE)

Already read it?

  • Buy it for a friend (click HERE)

  • tell the friend to leave a review on Amazon


It’s VERY LIKELY with  little help from you guys, Poggi will go to #1 this weekend. But it will not happen without your help.


The funniest, sexiest story you will read this year.

dan 6

  • Please like and share this post on all your social media. Reblog. Retweet. Etc.

  • Tell your friends on Facebook how much you liked it (word of mouth matters most).

  • Together we’ll send Poggi to #1


Word Weaver Winner’s Profiles: Fourth Place Winner Adele Marie Park


your humble host

The winners of April’s Word Weaver Writing Contest share their thoughts on the contest, writing in general, and other stuff.


Today our fourth place winner, Adele Marie Park, answers a few questions about our contest and other writerly things.

(Click HERE to read her contest entry)


1.Dan: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?

Adele: I wrote this story exclusively for Word Weaver Competition.

2.      Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece /completed story?

I believeThe idea can come from a dream, music, movie or television or something someone says. It gets jotted down along with the main characters then I start writing. First draft is left for about two weeks then I go back into it and start edits. My first published book Wisp
I hired an editor, a cover designer, who also helped me format.

3.      Where do you do your writing?

In the kitchen at the dining room table.

4.      Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?

Yes. I want my stories to be read and people to love them as much as I love my favorite authors.

5.      What helps you the most when it comes to writing?

I make a playlist for every story or novel I write. Becca helps me out with every aspect. Coffee and our dog Dante, who reminds me when I need to take a break and play with him.

6.      What does writing success look like?

A good solid fan base, a steady increase in sales and a happy writer.

7.      What are you working on now?

I’m currently in a competition called The Next Great Horror Writer It runs on until October and consists of a different writing challenge every month. I’m also writing Wisp 2 Spells of Sea Dragons and a horror novel “Wolfemanor.”

8.      There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?

I’ve followed your blog since I started blogging and love your writing style and humor so when the competition came up, I jumped at the chance.

9.      Have you ever entered a writing contest before?

Yes, several times through the years.

10.  Will we see you again in the July Word Weaver Writing Contest?

Yes, I’ll be entering for sure.

11.  Did you know the piece you submitted was special?

Yes. Her voice was constantly in my head, telling me her story needed telling.

12.  What’s next for you?

-Takes a deep breath -Try to win the Next Great Horror Writer competition. Finish the first draft of Wolfemanor and Wisp 2 Spells of Sea Dragons. I hope to get both novels ready to publish before Christmas.

After that? Edit and re-write my Suleskerry series about shapeshifting selkies (gray seals). Suleskerry is a series of books that I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, they sort of grew up with me. I dream that Peter Jackson will read them and want to make an epic movie about them. -laughs- You never know.

Hey, you can’t win if you don’t play, right? Dream big.

Gang here are Adele’s links :


Thanks so much for sharing these insights, Adele!

Gang, the next winners will be coming up on the blog soon. Stay tuned!


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.


This one falls into a broad category where there are ten sayings almost exactly like it. Basically, get off your ass and do it already! I always tell people I’ll be glad to help them. In person, I’ve told hundreds. So far ONE in-person would-be writer has taken me up on it. I hated it, cos it was a piece of crap, but 1 time wasn’t a bad deal for hopefully inspiring hundreds.

What are YOUR thoughts on this idea?

MORE beta love for An Angel On Her Shoulder

“…reminded me a lot of how Stephen King writes, who is one of my favorite writers.”

– beta reader





Best. Compliment. Ever.



I can’t say everybody feels this way about the story, but so far 2/3 of the beta readers have really enjoyed it (and the other 1/3 haven’t replied yet. How’s that?)

They are laughing at the right places and they are terrified at the right places. Can’t ask for more than that.

I had a good feeling about the story going into it and then my confidence wavered a bit, but reading this feedback is starting to make me think we have really have something special here. 

I’m going to think of a way for all of you to be able to read it and post a review in the first week. This sucker has some potential. This could be the one.

Finding the Perfect Date/Book – Guest Blog Post By Author J. A. Alexsoo

danTime to turn the wheel over to a friend and learn something from somebody other than me! Enjoy this terrific guest blog author J. A. Alexsoo.

This isn’t just about picking a book to read, but what readers look for in a book – so write one that way, too!




Finding the Perfect Date Book

Hi, I’m Book. Would You Like to Turn My Pages?

Guest post by J.A. Alexsoo


For some, choosing your next book can be daunting. Maybe you are searching for something new, or picking from your endless “To Read” pile. There are tons out there, so how do you decide? Think of it like dating.

The Search: Where Art Thou, My Book?

author J. A. Alexsoo

You don’t want to just close your eyes and point at random. Your time is valuable. The higher your chances of having a good time, the better. So, there are three options: the new, the familiar, or a mix of both.

Genre: Tall, Short, or Somewhere in Between

You’ve been around the block; you know what you love. Books, like people, can be complex. Fortunately, genre helps to categorize them for us. They can stand alone, or merge well together. For instance, there is fantasy, science fiction, and sci-fi fantasy. Often a bit of mystery and romance is thrown in. This is when subcategories can make the search easier. You can pick a genre you already like, be adventurous and delve into a different one, but with greater risk to enjoyment, or find a subcategory that includes both. This is only the first step.

The Meeting: Like At First Sight

As they say, appearance is everything. It’s the initial attraction that draws you. If there isn’t that spark of interest, you’ll move on and keep browsing. But, they also say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Cover: The Wow Factor

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, most people do.

The cover and title are the first things you decide if a book is worthy of your time. However, everyone is different. What one finds appealing, others may not.

It’s not uncommon for fantasy covers to show a scene or characters from the book. There are readers who love finding the part of the story shown on the cover, while others would be attracted to a simpler appearance. Each genre has its popular styles. For example, glow effects are favored for young adult fantasy.

The Pick-Up Line: You Had Me at Hi

If all has gone well, you’ve picked a genre and have your eye on a book that’s caught your attention. Now, you check the description. This is a crucial moment; will that first line hook you?

Hi, I’m Book. Would you like to turn my pages?

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But, there are other factors you might consider too. Have you ever read the character’s name and said it wasn’t for you? It may remind you of someone you know, or for some genres, even be hard to pronounce. Fantasy, for the most part, is known for its unique names.

You might be asking; how does this relate to dating? Let me ask you this; would you date someone with a name you hate? What about an uncommon name, or one you aren’t familiar with? If yes, then skies the limit, provided nothing else holds you back.

As a side note, the gender of the main character can also hold sway over your decision. If it doesn’t, then again, there are more to choose from.

Testing the Waters Before Taking the Plunge

There is one final consideration before delving into the first page. Plot. Is the story interesting to you? Is it the same old situation, or new and exciting? Can you sympathize with the characters? Is there an alluring pull in that small glimpse that makes you want to know more? Hopefully, there is.

Story: Table for Two

Everything is good. They are what you’ve been looking for: attractive and you’re on the edge of your seat. This is the moment of truth, where you discover if it’s right for you.

  • Does it hold your attention?

  • Do you like their style?

  • Are they taking it slow, or pushing it too fast?

  • Do they have a well-rounded and broad vocabulary?

If all goes well, you won’t be yawning and counting the seconds until it ends, or even cut it short.

Reading a book is the same. It shouldn’t be torture for you to finish. If you’re enjoying yourself, then the pages should flip by. You get close to the end, and you should feel satisfied, or sad that it’s over. A delightful book, like a great date, is hard to walk away from.

Finale: Check Please

Now, there’s one more choice to make. Your date is at the door. Do you make plans for more, or send them packing? Nothing is perfect. There will be aspects you don’t like, but is it worth overlooking them?

They may have this annoying habit of repeating the same word, but their eyes are so mesmerizing.

Maybe you had fun, but you don’t see it going any further. Either you start again with someone new, or you go for date number two.

It’s the same with books. You might find another one, or continue with the series. There are many out there, keep searching. You never know, the one to win over your heart may be just around the corner, or, behind the next cover.

 Alexsoo_TKO_FrontCoverJ.A. Alexsoo is an author and has forever been a fan of fantasy. When she isn’t imagining new adventures for her novels, she’s reading, walking her dogs, or capturing scenes of nature.

Thanks so much, J.A., for sharing your witty insights!

Gang, check out here work HERE on Amazon and over at her blog.



Yeah, I got a bunch of you to send me your mailing addresses so I could send you your drawing prizes from the Word Weaver Writing Contest, then I started emailing the sponsors and telling them who to send prizes to… and then I kinda forgot to do the rest.

Uh, well, in my defense, there were a lot of you…

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed
there were lots and lots of you. really.

Anyway, I’m on it.

And remembering I forgot is like not actually forgetting in the first place, right?

So the rest of the emails will go out today. Probably. Definitely this week, I bet.

And I have a bunch of books I’m mailing MYSELF so no worries, you didn’t get ripped off, it’s coming. Calm down. Sheesh.

Uh, okay. So – sorry. It’ll happen. Honest.

your forgetful host

And I’ll have a better system next time.



Word Weaver Winner’s Profiles: First Place Winner Ellie Presner

your humble host

The winners of April’s Word Weaver Writing Contest share their thoughts on the contest, writing in general, and other stuff.

Our first place winner in our first contest, Ellie Presner wrote an amazing story – but also lives one. Born and raised in Montreal, Ellie still lives her life there “to the fullest” as a freelance writer, editor and proofreader in the land of “bonjour-hi!”

“My writing credits include ‘Taking Back the Night,’ which was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Originally published in Homemaker’s Magazine, it was anthologized in Essays: Patterns and Perspectivesby Oxford University Press (1992). Another of my stories, “First Kiss,” was anthologized in The Issues Collection: Gender Issues, McGraw Hill Ryerson (1993). My other credits include magazine articles in Menz, Home and School, The Write Place and Gasp; I’ve also been published numerous times in the Montreal Gazette, The Downtowner and The Westmount Examiner.

Ellie-mauve scarf
author Ellie Presner

“When not at my Mac desktop, you’ll find me ensconced in my recliner with my cat, Annie, glued to my lap. If I need to get up I have to say, “Sorry, Annie…”

“I have two lovely adult children, a plump ‘n’ hairy kitty, a boyfriend who lives 700 miles away (drat!) and – oh yes – an ex-husband.

“My many years spent reading, editing and proofreading various magazines, screenplays, books and fellow writers’ manuscripts have honed my awareness of what good writing should look like.”

We agree. Maybe that’s why we loved her entry so much.
Now, for some writerly insights with our first grand prize winner.
Here’s Ellie
(Click HERE to read her winning entry).

1.      Dan: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?

Ellie: I have distinct memories of the circumstances surrounding this 1991 story. I don’t know why I dredged it up after all this time for this contest, except to say that I’ve always had a soft spot for it. It captured the snarky, vengeful feelings I still had then, years post-divorce. I’d gone on a “writing retreat” with my young-adult daughter to a B&B in the countryside. I wrote two stories in a “white heat,” one of which was this winner. My daughter, though, got sick from some sort of water-borne bacteria (we think) and was down for the count for three days of the five we were there. Poor girl! I also remember the little annoyance of having to go outside every time I wanted a cigarette. In December. (My addiction days.)

2.      Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece /completed story?
Annie the cat. Ellie was apparently unaware of our “no cats” policy.

First comes the inspiration, i.e., the idea. It usually flashes in my mind much like the light-bulb moment shown in comic books. Usually I’m nowhere near my computer, so I zap the idea down in my Notes app on my phone. (I live in dire fear of losing my phone. There’s a story idea for you!) From there it’s easy to zap the story down in no time. Then: revisions, and finally proofing. Those last stages take longer than the actual writing. (Except for my memoir; that took seven months to write, and three months to revise and proofread.)

3.      Where do you do your writing?

Oh, easy: at my iMac. (See attached photo of my kitty, Annie, supervising me as I write.)

4.      Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?

Whatever it takes to become rich and famous, I’ll do. Er, no wait, that’s not a good answer. It’s not a NOBLE answer. Let’s try that again. I would like to write something deep and weighty and memorable. No, that’s not quite it either. Something… funny? entertaining? imaginative? disquieting? nightmarish? More memoirs? A novel?

I think it’s time to confess: I don’t have one goal in particular. I just hope each piece is better than the last.

5.      What helps you the most when it comes to writing?

A thesaurus.
You didn’t ask what is the bane of my writing existence. I’ll tell you anyway: I have a weakness for exclamation marks and smileys! 🙂

6.      What does writing success look like?

See #4 please.

7.      What are you working on now?

I’m rather busy these days on a freelance editing gig. Other than that, I’m accumulating notes – and have started outlines – for several books I want to write. All are memoirs based on very different periods in my life. I think memoir is my genre of choice; dabbling in fiction is, I admit, more intimidating for me. Why? Because

when you think about it, in fiction, ANYthing is possible. I’m a bit overwhelmed by that “anything” aspect.

8.      There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?

Well Dan, I’ll tell you: your entry fees were very fair (i.e. low!), and your requirements re length, topic and so on were loosey-goosey. Also: great prizes. Perfect! 🙂

9.      Have you ever entered a writing contest before?

Yes. I entered a contest for writing prompts, which I won. 😀  My prompt was: “When the angel rang the bell, Claret was annoyed. He’s late, she thought.”  Needless to say, this was fiction.

I also came first place in a Grade 4 contest. I was given a paper crown and the title, Queen of the Composition. That sealed my fate.  There were probably other contests I entered, which, having NOT won, I quickly forgot.

10.  Will we see you again in the July Word Weaver Writing Contest?
Yes, If only I can find the guidelines again on your website…
11.  Did you know the piece you submitted was special?
I knew that *I* liked it. I had no idea whether anyone else would, though.
12.  What’s next for you?
Please see #7. Also – I’m planning to self-publish my memoir, since traditional publishers/agents didn’t bite. Two nibbles but that’s it.

Here’s part of my query letter pitching the memoir I wrote last year:

Back in the 1990s I worked on a TV series with Tony Scott, laboured on a script with Patrick McGoohan, chatted with John Ritter over canapés and nodded “Hi!” to Terence Stamp and David Bowie in the hall. My irreverent non-fiction memoir, “Surviving Hollywood North: Crew Confessions of an Insider,” reveals the ups and downs I spent immersed in the then-flourishing film business here in Montreal.

For an ex-social worker, the sudden entry into the world of movie mayhem as a script coordinator was somewhat daunting. What was this unfamiliar line of work like, this peek behind the film curtain? I’m convinced that many people will be curious to find out.

I am seeking a publisher for my 38,700-word memoir, and will be happy to provide my completed manuscript upon your request.

So far I’ve been asked twice for the full manuscript. The first time, I was ignored forever after. Second time got a (very nice) rejection letter.

Ellie, congratulations again and thank you so much for sharing your insights. Gang, we’ll have more Q&A and profiles of the winners coming up, so stay tuned!