Open Book Blog Hop – Humour

Robbie shares a few thoughts on including Humor in her writing

‘Is humour an important element is your stories? Do you ever laugh at something you’ve written?’

I am a very serious person. I have always been like that. My mother says I was a serious and self controlled baby. I rarely cried or gave her any trouble. I was what people call an “easy” baby. My mother says it was almost as if I knew how difficult things were for her following my biological father’s death and I made her life as easy as possible. Who knows, maybe babies can sense such things.

I was also an easy toddler. I went to nursery school because my mother had to work full time and mother says I never complained or even spoke about school. This characteristic of quiet tolerance has followed me throughout my life. In retrospect, it has not been a good thing for me. I should have realised you…

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the merry go round in the woods – what does that phrase invoke to you?

What does that phrase invoke to you?


The colorful leaves of Fall?

A horror story, where some scary person lures kids into the forest with the promises of a fun kiddie ride, then kills them?


The Scandal of National Polls.

I know you don’t come here for politics but this isn’t necessarily political.

The news people know this, or should, but we don’t have national elections for president. We have 50 individual state elections, and each state gets to decide their rules for it. So why do they take national polls? It’s irrelevant.

California has (for now) more people than Florida. It doesn’t matter if 55% or 99% of Californians vote Democrat, the state only get so many electors. A national poll that includes California will drive up Biden’s numbers.

But again, the national numbers are irrelevant. Ask president Hillary Clinton. She drove up numbers in California and New York – and got a bigger share of the popular vote. Didn’t matter, because as a representative republic, we use the electoral college. Trump won the electoral college in a landslide.

So… why does our media insist on telling us the national poll numbers when they know it doesn’t matter?

I was at a presentation where an economist asked:

Can a bank earning 2% on its loans and paying 5% on its deposits stay in business?

2-5= -3

Almost everyone in the room – bank examiners – said no.

$1,000 x 5% = $50

$10,000 x 2% = $200

So, a bank can pay 5% and earn 2% and put lots of profits on the bottom line.

Here’s what’s going to happen in November.

I know a LOT of democrats. I don’t know very many Democrats who are excited about voting for Biden. I live in an area of Florida that went for Hillary last time and had a zillion Obama signs in yards when he was running for president. I’m not seeing Biden signs. I see plenty of Trump signs and I’ve heard reporters candidly admit as they drive across Pennsylvania in the last election, once they got out of Philadelphia, all they saw was Trump signs.

Now, if 150 Democrats and 100 Republicans live in one area and get polled, the presidential race might look even because the pollsters will stop counting once they get 100 of each so it’s fair. Or Maybe Biden even would have a nice lead. Look familiar? But here’s the thing.

If only 50% of those Democrats go vote (75) because they aren’t enthusiastic, but 80% of the republicans vote because we tend to follow rules and show up (80) – that’s just how we are – then Trump wins. Again.

And he wins the same way he won last time.

The numbers will be different but you get the idea.

The media will scream “How could this be?” Maybe they can’t do math.

But now you know.

Two more things that amplify this.

A candidate for office recently interviewed 5 polling firms and specifically asked what they had changed since 2016 in their polling systems. Only 1 firm had changed anything. Well, the polls were off last time, so they’ll be off this time because they’re doing it the same wrong way.

Republicans aren’t real vocal about voting for Trump. Some are, but most aren’t. I feel if I wore a Trump t-shirt out in public, people would yell at me. Most of my democrat friends don’t feel that way. They post a lot on social media about the issues; my republican friends mostly don’t. Many, many democrats are vocal about the issues that appeal to the left, to the point where their activists are going too far but because they’re on the same team, the rational democrats can’t call the wild ones out. Look what happens in the news if a democrat woman is against abortion. Or if she is pro school choice. She’s shunned – or accosted. So the democrat dissenters stay quiet. Don’t believe me? When Ken Bone said he was going to vote independent, he later tweeted that the right wing was generally disappointed but understanding, and the left wing was filled with hatred.

So, what’s my point?

Trump is going to win – again – and the news media is going to be surprised – again – even though they shouldn’t be based on information that is readily available to all of us.

When I drive around, I see what I see. I wasn’t happy seeing all those Obama signs a few years ago, and I’m wondering where the Biden signs are now. But then I realized I had my answer.

One more thing. We NEED each other, gang. Rs and Ds can be friends. Rs and Ds ARE friends. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Spellbound Narrator Auditions (Updated 10/8/2020 at 11:00am EST)

More Spellbound auditions! (Updated 10/8 at 11:00AM)

Dan Alatorre

Matthew Cook

Victor Warren

Cheri  Calvert

Ray Wolinski

Ray Lisnewski

Nikki Lynch

Patrick Hyndes Darnell II

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I just wrote one of the best chapter I’ve ever written.

I just wrote one of the best chapter I’ve ever written.

And if I were to read it again right now, every ounce of passion and emotion and tension would be right there on the page.

The problem is, all that stuff probably isn’t there. At least not the way I imagined it in my head when I wrote it.

So I’m going to let it rest and I’m gonna come back to it tomorrow or the next day. I’ll have a fresh perspective and I’ll be able to see what’s missing and really fatten it up until it is dripping with emotion and has everybody clinging to the arm of the chair with white knuckles because of the tension.

I’m within a week of finishing Primary Target and within three weeks of requesting beta readers.


Spellbound Narrator Auditions (Updated 10/11/2020 at 12:15pm EST)

Nicole B Dolan

Storm P Brown

Zach NeSmith

Jennifer James

Chicquito Joaquim Crasto

Matthew Cook

Victor Warren

Cheri  Calvert

Ray Wolinski

Ray Lisnewski

Nikki Lynch

Patrick Hyndes Darnell II

The Purge

Today was purge day!
I’m so happy.

I know there have been a few books and movies about a purge, where society gets rid of their undesirables or whatever. This was not that.
So what is the purge in Dan parlance? In DanSpeak?
I’ll tell you
When I am putting together a book, when I’m starting to think about how this would be a neat idea for a scene or that would be a neat idea for a plot, I dash off a quick note to myself and I throw it in a folder on my computer. By the time I sit down to make the outline – I like to use outlines so I know where the heck the story is going; that way I get there – I have lots of story prompts. Ideas to write for scenes or dialogs or subplots.
One idea might be, “Oh, the killer turns out to be the Butler.”
The next one might be, “No wait it’s the maid!”

You get the idea.
Many, many times they are ideas that are dialogue, created to flesh out a complicated plot point. (You can have two characters summarize something pretty quickly in dialogue. That makes for a good conversation to read but it doesn’t necessarily make for a good story to read.)
I will also want to throw in some “red herrings.”
What are those?

Suppose I’ve got you thinking we are looking for the killer the whole time, and suddenly the butler shows up with blood on his hands! We are all thinking: maybe he did it.
But really, he was… I don’t know, butchering a hog for dinner, and in fact the maid had blood on her hands, too! She was actually killing the wealthy billionaire whose house they all live in. (I don’t know. I don’t write stories like that. Not really. Maybe a little.)
Anyway, the red herring is where you make the reader think the bad guy is one person and then you get later to expose that it’s not that person.
I can’t tell you how much FUN writing red herrings is.
Red herrings are a blast.

There are several in Primary Target, the 2nd book in my wildly popular Double Blind series – maybe. If I told you, they wouldn’t be red herrings anymore!


So all these ideas get thrown into a folder. And then I start numbering them. I say, well, this will be chapter 1; this idea would be chapter 2… and then I have these other miscellaneous things like, Here’s how this type of gun works and That’s not really an idea, that’s more like research.
And as you might guess, or maybe you wouldn’t guess this… Well, let me back up.

I guess I should explain, and say not every idea that goes in the folder turns out to be one that I can use in the story. Or could use it all. Or should use.

And so I might have said, “What if the maid jumps out at the end and kills the butler!” But I also might’ve said, “What if the maid kills herself in the opening scene?”
Probably, the maid can’t do both. So of those two conflicting ideas, one gets chosen and one gets purged.
And some other stuff that gets purged is research information, like “What if they all fly to Spain” and then I have some information on Spain. I keep it for a while, and when I decide I don’t need it, purge! Or the description of a character that I ended up not using. Purge!
Some of the stuff from the purge is a good idea that’s just not gonna be used in this book. That stuff goes into an idea folder of things I should look at writing down the road. Other times, I’m like, that’s a good scene for this character but not in this book – so I will stick it in the folder for the next book, and maybe I can use it there. Maybe it’ll be the one after that.
But – and this is probably the scary part for a lot of people – there might be 50 or 60 ideas in my story folder, and probably 30 or 40 got purged today.
Again, doesn’t mean they were bad ideas. It just means I don’t need them or it’s too late in the plot to introduce something new or whatever.
And so, the purge.
Once the purge gets done, what’s left? A handful of bullet points that need to be addressed before “The End.”
And then a few little scenes that make everything tied up with a satisfying little bow at the end.
Maybe one or two little hooks baited so you click over to preorder the next book in the series.
All said, there are 20 remaining things to address – five are main story points and the rest are little pieces that help wrap those five main ones up.
I’d say more but I don’t want to give anything away.
But suffice it to say once the purge happens, we are in the home stretch – and probably no more than 30 days away from requesting beta readers. In fact, For Primary Target, my goal is to have it done before October 1.
Will I make it? Not if I keep writing this instead of that! So stay tuned!

That’s it for now. Talk soon!

Looks Like Things Are Improving!

Dan AlatorreI try to be an optimist in business. There’s always someone who’s making a breakthrough when everyone else is down…

…and I think, Why not me?

(It’s usually NOT me, but one can always hope!)

I have many, MANY author friends who’ve said their sales are down 30% (or more) since March 2020.

They are scaling back on marketing purchases until things improve.

That is one way to go.

Me, I’m writing and publishing as much as possible – I’ve put out a book every single month for this entire year, and I am scheduled to maintain that pace through 12/31/2020. I am also working my butt off doing MORE marketing than ever before. Hopefully, when things improve, I’ll be in a good position; but if things head south again, I’ll have learned how to weather difficult times.


But it made me think.

If people scale back because things are down, then things get MORE down.

  • The authors buy fewer ads for books because the readers aren’t buying books.
  • The advertising site has less money because the authors aren’t buying ads; maybe they cut back on hours, so
  • their employees have less money – to buy books, among other things.

You get the idea.

We’re in this together, gang.

It occurred to me that authors are a lagging indicator when things are going bad. We buy our ads in advance, so when the crap hits the fan, we’ve alerady spend money for March and April. But when things start to improve, many authors will buy more ads – when we see things improving. Which is after it starts to happen. We’re a lagging indicator in our ad buys.

But we can be a leading indicator if we are watching our business.

My sales results lately have been really good, and they are headed in the right direction (see chart, below). Maybe not as good as February, but way better than June. Much better than late August. Much better than early September. It doesn’t matter if the bars on that chart are tracking $5 for $5000, or if they are just for a week; that wasn’t the point. My sales are TRENDING in the right direction.

I have to believe it’s not just me.


It’s too soon to tell, but I think things are on the upswing.

There will be plenty of people who don’t see it. This trend isn’t six months or a six weeks. I’m just saying, that might be the bird on Noah’s ark that indicated that there was dry land up ahead somewhere and maybe things were going to start getting good again.

Like I said, I’m an optimist in business.

But it looks good to me.


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