What the HECK is a Virtual Assistant???

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

I know people who use Virtual Assistants and swear by them, and I know a lot of authors who are swamped with trying to run a blog and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and Snapchat, etc., and still find time to write – but don’t think they can delegate any of these tasks, and don’t think they can afford a VA.

So I asked my friend Michelle to explain what a Virtual Assistant is, and what she does, and to answer some basic questions for our group.

If you have additional questions or want to know more, ask your questions below as comments (others may have the same question) or contact Michelle directly. I’ll then ask her to answer it here, too, as a reply, and everyone can see her wonderful, friendly demeanor.

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MM 1A note to Dan’s readers: This post may come across as quite self-promoting, I know. I am writing about what a virtual assistant is because I AM a virtual assistant. I feel great about what I do, love helping people get organized, and think many people can benefit from quality assistance. What I’m not doing is writing to convert dozens of readers to clients. I work with only a handful of clients at a time, so that really isn’t my goal at all! If you are interested in more information, I would be more than happy to consult with you, and I have a wonderful network of great VAs who I can refer you to if we aren’t a good fit or if I just don’t have the bandwidth to help you.

That being said…

What is a Virtual Assistant??

I’m not talking about Facebook’s “M” or Siri or Cortana, here. A Virtual Assistant is (generally) an independent contractor who provides business support for multiple clients remotely. Some are generalists, and others have specialties. There is a very wide variety of personalities and skills in the VA industry. It has been growing for well over a decade and shows no signs of stopping.

MM 2As a VA, I work personally with creative professionals in order to maximize their time and efficiency and make them more productive and profitable. It’s a partnership in which I take over administrative tasks so that my clients can focus their energy on things only they can do.

If you are a writer, you need to put pen to paper (or, you know, fingers to keyboard)! All of the other things: the invoicing, website management, research, bookkeeping, travel planning, newsletter scheduling – those things should be handled by someone who can’t do what you are gifted and trained to do best.

Why Contract a Virtual Assistant??

Yeah. That.
Yeah. That.

I generally find that I can complete a client’s administrative and business support tasks in about 50-75% of the time it takes a client to do the same task, so not only does the client gain that much time, but the work is completed SOONER than it would have been if the client was handling it alone. Here are a few other quick reasons.

Partner with a VA so that you can…

  • Keep up the momentum of your growing business by letting your VA take care of things quickly.
  • Take a step back and look at the bigger picture of your business while your VA takes care of more of the nitty gritty stuff (including reports and analytics to help show you the progress you are making).
  • Avoid burnout by delegating the things you hate and focusing only on what you love to do.

What is the Cost of a Virtual Assistant??

Value is the importance, worth, and usefulness of something.

Of course, dollars do matter. As I said earlier, there is a lot of variety in this industry! You may pay anywhere from $2-$200 per hour, depending on what you need help with and the skills/experience of the VA, or you may pay a set retainer per month. Essentially, you can find a VA on any budget! I will caution you, though, that you get what you pay for. I have gone through several VAs of my own, and I’ve seen this to be true.

So before you decide on a budget and begin a search for your own VA, think about value.

tired_1794882bHow much is your time worth? What is it worth to you to get an extra 15, 30, or 50 hours a month to invest back into your craft, give to your family, or further your education?

What would it mean to you to finally be organized and on top of your back-end business tasks that bog you down? To know that nothing is falling through the cracks?

What sucks up your time that you DREAD doing? How would it feel to get that off your plate?

Examples and More Information

I’d like to leave you with a hopefully-inspirational list of tasks that you, as a writer, could delegate to a Virtual Assistant. (Note: it will be up to you to make sure the person you partner with is capable of performing all of the tasks you need assistance with, so make sure to vet your candidates! Some of the tasks below require specialized skills.)

  • Research & Fact-Finding
  • Scheduling Interviews or Promotional Activities
  • Formatting
  • Email Sorting & Screening
  • Invoicing & Bookkeeping
  • Proofreading & Editing
  • Website Set-Up & Maintenance
  • Publishing Assistance
  • Copyright Registration
  • E-Newsletter Management

Michelle Martinez partners with busy creative professionals to maximize their time and efficiency and keep them organized. She is the all-in-one solution for her client’s virtual business support needs. For more information, please visit http://michelle.io or email michelle@michelle.io and follow @MichelleAssist on Twitter!

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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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE with a twist!

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

UPDATE 10/23/2015 at 4:00pm EST: HAIKUS DON’T HAVE TO RHYME.

Oh, this is gonna be GOOD.

And short. So the deadline is SHORTER

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!

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.

So 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 since it’s a poem, it needs to rhyme.

EXAMPLE 1: provided by my friend Allison, who used to teach poetry! I did not know that! She knocked this out in like ten seconds.

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Red wine in my glass

Shimmering under the lights

You get me wasted

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Is that cool or what? Ten seconds!

EXAMPLE 2:

(I gave her a random topic of shoes)

White and blue sneakers

Inappropriate for work

Wear them anyway

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EXAMPLE 3:

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

Juicy in segments

Tropical citrus delight

Burns my papercut

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Okay, they can’t all be winners.

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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!

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CLICK HERE for your random topic.

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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 a link to your haiku in the comments section.
  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

READY?

SET?

GET TO IT!

ARIGATO!

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Your humble host.
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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

BE JEALOUS! New Author Interview: CASSANDRA PIAT from the tropical island of Mauritius

Cassandra Piat
Cassandra Piat

Yes, be jealous, my friends. I live in Florida and Cassandra has me ready to pack my bags. Read on and you’ll see why. 

“What’s It Gonna Be?”  –  her first novel, is a romantic comedy set in Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar (which is an island off the coast of Africa). I can’t help but think that Cassandra and Mauritius were made for each other. Or maid. But I’m jumping ahead…

DAN: What is the working title of your next book?

CASSANDRA: Wouldn’t I just love to know!! I have no idea and am starting to stress out big time as my book is finished and I need to get the cover done and get the ball rolling but have a complete title blank!

It’s a nightmare.cs6

Use the random title generator! It came up with some good ones in our Flash Fiction Challenge a few weeks ago. 

Which is the more important of these two: write drunk, edit sober?

editEdit sober after writing drunk sounds good to me! Am sure great ideas can come out when you’re drunk (not that I’ve ever written drunk but may have to give it a try. On the other hand, not quite sure that editing drunk would work out too well.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, huh? Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?

Do you even have to ask, Dan? I would definitely choose you as a blogger/author. (Of course I have to say that because this is your blog after all.)

THIS IS WHERE SHE LIVES!!!!! I am definitely going there for drinks.
THIS IS WHERE SHE LIVES!!!!!
I am definitely going there for drinks.

No, seriously, it really would be great to have a drink with you and not to mention super interesting for me as I have so much to learn from you.

That is my whole goal for asking that question, to line up free drinks for myself.

Smart thinking. As for authors… There are so many lovely ones I’ve social media-ed with over the past few months and who I would love to meet, but the list is too long… Otherwise I’d definitely love to meet Cecilia Ahern whose books I just love.

Tell us what’s awesome about her books and why they speak to you.

It’s funny because I mostly read chicklit books and that’s the genre I like (light and funny), but I just love her books (How to fall in love, P.s I love you, Love Rosie…). They are so deep and touching and always have a wonderful message for the reader. I love her sense of humour too and her characters are wonderful and complex. She has a way of making me feel as if I am right in there with them.

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

This is the beach Cassandra mentions in her book, AND WHERE HER BEACH COTTAGE IS!!! Are you sold yet?
This is the beach Cassandra mentions in her book,
AND WHERE HER BEACH COTTAGE IS!!!
Are you sold yet?

That I am French-speaking.

Yes, we’ve always spoken French at home but as I not only lived in Mauritius but also in England, South Africa and Australia growing up, I’m also completely fluent in English. It’s strange because I would never be able to write a book in French – it just wouldn’t work. Maybe my sense of humour is in English!!!

Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

Breeding cats…

Kidding!
Just kidding!

Oops, we’re out of time! We’ll have to end it there.

Thought you’d say that! Ok, seriously, I love reading, the outdoors (specially the sea, mountains and lakes), scrapbooking, watching movies, going to concerts and the theatre, hanging out with friends, laughing, eating chocolate and drinking wine!

What’s the most fun part of writing a novel or short story? What’s the least fun part?

cs4For me the fun part is writing the story. I love writing and letting my characters take me on a journey with them. It’s liberating and I love that I get to decide on the outcome of the story. In life we have so little control over so many things, that I guess I love the power writing gives me. Creating the cover is also fun, but for me, all the rest is definitely not fun – finding a title, writing the blurb (am so bad at summarizing things), the marketing and promotion, the non-sales etc etc…

What’s the oddest or most awkward or embarrassing research you’ve had to do?

Damn! I wish I had something really juicy to write here but unfortunately I can’t say I have…

There WERE other choices of questions, you know! What, did you panic?

Oops, good point. Let’s try another one then shall we?

Favourite Quotes

There are so many amazing quotes that I like and that inspire me, but this one is related to my publishing adventure;

cs8
One of Cassandra’s favorite quotes.

By publishing my book, I was shooting for the moon and it was a huge risk that I wasn’t sure I should take. In my mind it was either reach the moon or come crashing down, so to speak. But when I read this, I loved the thought that worse case scenario, I would be landing among the stars… and it encouraged me to go ahead and take the risk. And now, although I haven’t reached the moon sales wise, it’s definitely been a wonderful adventure and a journey that I don’t regret for a minute.

Plotter? Or Pantser? And prepare to defend your position!

Definitely a Pantser!

Definitely going to have to stop asking that question. ARE THERE NO PLOTTERS OUT THERE? Okay, why does pantsing work for you, allegedly, Untitled One?

ANOTHER pantser!
ANOTHER pantser!

I am about the most disorganized human being on the planet. I make to-do lists then lose them or just never look at them. I go to the shop to buy bread and come back with 10 other things, but forget the bread. I remember birthday parties but forget to buy presents, or buy presents but forget the parties… anyway you get the general drift. So even if I wanted to be a plotter type of writer, it would be impossible for me. I am just not programmed to organize or plan or plot anything. I’m a spur of the moment type of person and the same goes for my writing. I have ideas and then they come together as I type. I don’t know the ending of the story when I begin. That’s the way I like it – it makes it more fun as you never know where it will lead you.

What was your road to publication like?

cs5Exhilarating, scary, fun, stressful, surreal…

Really! That’s the whole spectrum, just about. Why such a range?

It was hard to realize that I had actually written a book and that I was getting a cover made for it, writing a blurb, and then seeing it on Amazon for the first time – amazing feeling! As I self-published my book, I had to cover the printing costs and that part was very stressful because I knew there was a risk that I wouldn’t actually be getting most of that money back. But when I decided to go for it, I was so excited. I just couldn’t believe that I, Sandrine Piat, my book was going to be published and put on sale in bookstores around the island!!

It’s a special day. Things become more real all of a sudden.

cs10
“My boxes and the first live copies of my book!” – Cassandra

But when they delivered about 50 boxes to my house with 1,000 copies of my book that I now had to sell – my exhilaration turned to sheer panic!!!

Luckily the boxes have slightly reduced in number since April, but there are still quite a lot there… Will have a huge bonfire next year with all the unsold books! You’re all invited.

 

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

Cassandra sent along a picture of her laundry
Cassandra sent along a picture of her laundry

Of course I can wash dark and light clothes together – but whether they stay their original colour or not when they come out is the million dollar question! I kinda like the anticipation of wondering what my clothes are going to look like when they come out of there though!

Makes for a whole new wardrobe at times!

Sounds like a typical pantser

To be honest, here in Mauritius we have maids, so I don’t actually do the whole washing thing myself very often (yeah, I know, I know…) But I have definitely ended up with a few pink sheets, towels and t-shirts in the past.

I could get used to maids!

Coffee addict? Name your poison.

cs12Chocolate and red wine! Not together, just love both.

Nothing beats a glass of red wine to relax in the evening.

And chocolate… umm… anytime, anywhere.

I know that feeling. Chocolate speaks to me with the sounds of love. Then I eat it.

If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

Okay, so I have to tell you that when someone tells me that they wish they could win the 40 million rupee lotto, I tend to say, “But what would you do with all that money anyway?!” And I honestly think that. Pretty weird huh?

Maybe not. Depends on what a rupee is.

cs9But if I were to become rich, I guess I would enjoy being able to spoil all those I love and those in need, and it would definitely be wonderful not to have to worry about keeping my day job to pay the bills so that I could just concentrate on writing. Having money to promote my books would be cool, and even better, being able to pay someone to promote and market my books for me!!

Paid promoter! An indie author’s dream. What about shopping?

I guess I would also love to go on a shopping spree where I could just buy whatever I wanted without looking at the price tags. Oh yes, I would also definitely buy lots and lots of bags – I love bags (small, medium and large), and lots and lots of real books (no more kindle versions).

As for being famous, I don’t like being the centre of attention, but it would be pretty awesome to know that people love my books and admire my work.

Speaking of your work, who helped you the most getting started?

sistersMy sister has been amazing at helping out with all the social media and marketing on the internet stuff because I’m not very good at all that. She’s been there non-stop, motivating me and never letting me give up – because I’ve wanted to give it all up so many times after no sales happening for weeks on end! But she’s always been there/and is there, encouraging me to keep going and telling me that things will pick up and that I just have to be patient… couldn’t have done this without her.

Tell us about yourself. Who IS the real Cassandra Piat? And not typical the boring bio stuff. The dirt. Like, when was the last time you did laundry?

What’s with all the laundry questions Dan? Is laundry a passion of yours?? Like Cats?

cs14Okay, a bit about myself…

  • My real name is Sandrine but I decided to use the pen name Cassandra as Sandrine is a bit of a mouthful in English.
  • Craziest, most awesome thing I’ve ever done – skydiving 10,000 feet out of a plane in New Zealand. AMAZINGEST thing EVER!

Or just craziest. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane? No thanks.

  • I just love the Minions quotes – they just crack me up and there are so many that are just so me!
  • cs11For my first (and only) book-signing session, I spent the first TWO HOURS sitting outside the bookshop at a table alone with my books and a lovely bouquet of flowers, and NOT ONE person came up to talk to me or buy my book! I had only one hour left and was about to start bawling my eyes out and running out of there, when suddenly a lovely man came up to talk to me AND he bought my book AND asked me if he could take a photo of me for his wife. My first ever photograph as an author! After that two other people bought my book, a woman stopped by to tell me that she had read my book and really enjoyed it, and another two stopped by to ask about me and my book so I finished on a good note. But those first two hours were so awful and I haven’t had the courage to try another session since!
  • I’m always late and I hate lists and anything official or with too many rules.
  • Did a Radio interview – was such fun and it was just so surreal to hear my voice on the radio. How had I become interesting enough to be on the radio?? When did that happen? Anyway, t’was a great experience although there were one or two embarrassing moments when I did a bit too much of ‘umm-ing’ and when I said that my books were on sale in all the local libraries instead of bookshops (my French is a bit icky at times). But all in all, I loved my 6 minutes of claim to fame.

(Note: It’s actually really easy to get interviewed on the radio in Mauritius, but pretend you didn’t know that – I do J)

  • I hate being in planes (or is in ‘on’?? Never know which one to use!)

Hated it enough to jump out of one!

  • I love pizza

How can you not? It’s pizza.

  • cs14I’m really hopeless at anything womanly i.e. makeup, high heels, fancy hairstyles. A typical example; For my first photo shoot for a local magazine, I stuck my eyeliner in my eye seconds before the photographer arrived so I greeted him with red, watery eyes so he couldn’t do any close up shots!!

Was too embarrassed to tell him the truth so just said that I had got dust in my eye! But that’s what happens when I try to wear make-up!!

  • Lucy, the main character in my book, is a replica of me character wise.

Thanks so much Dan for welcoming me on your blog and doing this interview with me. It’s been a real treat.

Thanks for being such a good sport. It was fun!

Here are all the links to Cassandra:

https://cassandrapiat.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cassandra-Piat/1700738916820157

https://twitter.com/cassandra_piat

https://www.pinterest.com/cassandrapiat/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12620567.Cassandra_Piat

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Your humble host.
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.

Wanna do an interview? Or a guest blog post to increase your exposure? Hit the Contact Me button and let’s talk!

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

What Did #1LineWed Do For Me?

A little while back we talked about social media and some of the hashtags you can use. Today was “one line Wednesday” (#1linewed)

(Okay, we talk about social  media a lot, like HERE, HERE, and HERE also HERE and HERE, and yes these are all different.)

There’s a theme each week and you do whatever the theme is. Today it was “last line of the chapter.” Easy enough. But by posting a dozen or so tweets with the last lines of chapters and tweeting with the #1linewed, you can generate traffic to your Twitter account, your blog, and maybe add a few followers.

That tall bar? That's today!
That tall bar? That’s today!

Here are my results

  • LOTS of Twitter traffic (see the above kickass bar chart)
  • added about 50 or so Twitter followers today
  • a better than average blog traffic day – but that can be because of the tweets or the topic, so several things go into that, below:

    Blog traffic - today is orange
    Blog traffic – today is orange
  • added 10 blog followers in the last 16 hours, so that’s about when I started tweeting (again, several things go into that)
  • a couple of people liked my Facebook author page

Not bad, and I wanted to let you know!

Don’t Be So Dramatic! Or DO. Dramatic Irony For Fun And Profit

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnnn! DRAMATIC IRONY!

Which is what, exactly?

Beats me.

But I have smart friends, and one of them, Allison Maruska, bestselling author of The Fourth Descendant, recently posted on her blog about ways to use Dramatic Irony to increase tension in your story.

See, it’s all ball bearings nowadays, guys tension, guys! And if we can throw in a few additional tension-enhancing elements, it helps the story a LOT.

fletchBy having a discussion about this with Allison, my critique partner (to learn more about the value of critique partners, click HERE), I realized that (A) I had a few places I could add dramatic irony in my current story and (B) it was probably set to happen in  few upcoming scenes, and (C) I had just written a scene where it basically had just happened! I just didn’t realize a scene could be enhanced that way, so I would have/nearly missed the chance! It was 90% there already, it just needed a tweak.

Bestselling author, friend and critique partner Allison Maruska
Bestselling author, friend and critique partner Allison Maruska

She helped me see the dramatic irony light, which will make those passages in my story a lot more fun for readers.

(If you’d like to do a guest post, hit the Contact Me button and let’s pick an educational topic for you to enlighten us on!)

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Here’s Allison explaining the whole dramatic irony thing as only she can.

Enjoy. I did.

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Have you read a story where the character knew everything that was going on and merely went through a checklist to solve the problem?

I certainly hope not, because that would be boring as hell.

No matter the genre, we read stories to see how the main character emerges victoriously (or not). Does the detective solve the crime? Does the waitress capture the heart of the famous patron? Will the elf/goblin find the mystical gem and save the kingdom from certain annihilation?

If the character knows in the beginning how to conquer the challenges, there would be no story. In a typical narrative, the characters don’t know what to do, and neither do we, the readers. Tension arises through conflict and complications and the unknown. Include those, and you’re more likely to write a page-turner.

outhouse-irony
Credit: Jokeroo.com

But if you want to turn your tension up even more, throw in some dramatic irony.

*insert collective groan as everyone remembers their high school literature classes*

Stay with me. Do this right, and your book will keep people up at night. Yay for creating drowsy drivers!

Dramatic irony happens when the audience knows something the characters don’t. Instead of exploring the dark cave with the MC and discovering the monster with him, we know the monster is there and brace ourselves for when the MC finds it. Dramatic irony causes readers/viewers to do this: Don’t do it!!

Or if we’re writing a romance, maybe this: Go for it! He likes you!!

Yes, everyone studied dramatic irony in high school. No one remembers, because high school literature classes have a magical gift of taking something interesting and turning it into a snore fest. Take, for example, the most famous example of dramatic irony: Romeo and Juliet.

We were all forced to translate Shakespearean and read this classic. It’s easy to tell who did their homework. Those who think it’s a basis for all love stories did not – unless they think all love stories should end in a suicide pact.

But it wasn’t really that, was it? Juliet took the “look I’m dead” potion, but Romeo thought she was really dead. We knew more than Romeo, and we watched in horror as he offed himself in despair…

To continue reading, please click HERE

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Your humble host.
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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

I am not a stalker………………… (but please “stalk” me!)

Did I mention I live in Seattle?
Did I mention I live in Seattle?

We author types LOVE it when our friends support us on several platforms! For example, I am a Critique Partner with a few people. So, to help support their efforts…

I follow their blogs,

I’m following them on Twitter,

if they have a book out I “Like” their Amazon page,

I am Facebook friends with them

if they have a Facebook author page, I Like and Follow it

as well as emailing with them when necessary

I follow their Pinterest site and

I follow them on Instagram

Yeah, that's a LOT
Yeah, that’s a LOT

So that’s eight different stalker-ish ways to help and support my author friends. Cos we’re friends! We have all these platforms and we need friends on them, so we support each other.

Feel free to do that for me, too!

And while that sounds like a lot of stuff, I’d say 90% of the interaction takes place on Facebook, 5% on email, 5% on our critique site, and less than 1% on Twitter and the rest. That’s just a guess, depending on the friend. Some are more active on email and less on Facebook, or whatever.

But it all helps you have a presence for new fans to find you, and if something takes off like a Twitter post or something, they can help you keep it going.

The way to make your favorite author happy is to support their platform wherever you can. Stalk them, so to speak. They’ll love it. Just don’t show up at the house, you know?

In fact…

It's nice to have friends.
I’m not the dorky dude, either.

We should all be Liking and following each other anyway. Post your stuff in the comments and click through to support me and everybody else. Theoretically, if we all did it, we’d all have hundreds of new followers on all our social media sites. More is good.

(It could work.)

Where’s Dan? Well…

Facebook Author site HERE

Amazon author page HERE

Twitter HERE

WordPress blog you should know by now

Pinterest HERE

Instagram HERE

Google Plus HERE

Email – you need to buy me dinner first, and not Mickey D’s, but someplace nice. But hit the Contact Me button if you need to get me.

Support you authors!

What are some ways YOU can suggest to be more supportive?

Here’s How It Happens

02052015 Italy 2015 (113)I often get asked how I am able to write a blog, write books, do critiques, and still function on planet Earth.

I’m not always sure about that last part, but we’ll assume they are not implying I am a Martian or from Hell or something.

(We recently discussed what makes great writing, HERE)

I’ve talked about it, but some of the “get up at 4am” stuff didn’t fly well with some of you, so among the many other parts of my many efficient habits, is: I tell pieces of my story into my phone.

Now, I have nothing against jotting down an idea with pen and paper. But when I’m driving, that’s not easy to do. Or good to do. And pulling over every 3 minutes when another good idea hits is equally annoying.

I use talk to text on my phone and email it to my home computer, and translate it later.

That translate is important, because I talk fast and don’t enunciate in enough robotic cadences to have my often-irritating phone from hell understand every word. Sometimes when I go to read it, even I don’t know what the hell I meant.

I was only slightly more coherent than this guy.
I was only slightly more coherent than this guy.

(I once voice-texted with an author friend while I was drinking near a Jacuzzi in Orlando. She recalls it as being particularly hilarious because my phone was at its evil best and the alcohol made my proofreading even worse than usual. She claims it was one of our funniest conversations ever. We are thinking of doing our upcoming interview drunk, using only talk to text.)

So, at the risk of embarrassing myself to the point of needing to take up residence on our closest planetary neighbor, here is the talk-to-text version and subsequent translation from a thought I had today. It took less than five minutes to dictate, and would usually take about 15-30 minutes to decipher and form into a relevant post. (Typically, a vignette like this would go into one of my Savvy Stories anthologies, like the upcoming “FOURthcoming: funny things I learned from my preschool daughter.”)

It's the phone!
It’s the phone!

First, the talk to text gibberish (keep in mind, my phone hates me but I am sober):

So, I saw how it happens.

 

Some comedian made a joke that your parents picked you up one day and then sit you down and then never picked you up again. It’s a little sad and poignant but it’s also kind of funny and thought-provoking

 

And I saw how it happens when my daughter was in preschool, she went three days a week and had a pretty late start time

 

My wife and I work some odd hours so we didn’t care how late the kids stayed up because she got plenty of sleep should take naps in the afternoon after school if she needed more sleep she go to bed earlier but

 

For the most part she would fall asleep around 930 or 10 o’clock sometimes 1030 watching TV with us on the couch.

 

We had a routine. We would eat dinner, we would do some stuff, and then we would watch TV or play games or whatever, but then when it was about that time we would start turning off the lights and put on a TV show that was deafly not interesting to a child so no cartoons maybe a baseball game or sometimes survivor because that was a pretty good show for her to watch she likes the games competitions

 

Anyway that was our routine. For long time. And it sounds funny but I won’t lie part of the reason why workout is so that I can pick up my daughter. I was around too many people who are grown and grown they had to pick up their kids. Honestly, we had a birthday party I was grunting and groaning picking up their kids as I put him on a trampoline because he’ll some of those kids are happy. The bigger ones especially. Older ones but my kids not that old and not that heavy so I didn’t want to be grunting and groaning when I picked her up

 

And I wanted to be able to pick her up for a long time

 

Putting your child in your arms and caring them off the bed is a two minute long hug that one day will stop. I knew this.

 

And then one day it got taken away from me. With the new routine of going to kindergarten every day and getting up a lot earlier, routine was formed

 

It was dinner then a little bit of goofing off and then a bath or shower. Because we usually eat dinner so late, we basically a compressed all the times and dinner segued right into shower segued right into brushing your teeth and going to bed. Often, I wasn’t upstairs helping her get her shower anymore. So often, I missed saying good night to her. But what also happened was, there was no need to carry her off to bed because she was already upstairs near her bed. She walked on down after brushing her teeth climbed in the bed and went to sleep

 

And that’s when I realized that with rear occasions where exceptions, I probably put her down and didn’t pick her up again

 

I probably carried her to bed five nights a week last year. Actually, three months ago I was still doing that. Now I’m not doing it at all

 

Now I’m Harley doing it at all.

 

 I don’t like it

.

That was borderline indecipherable!
That was borderline indecipherable!

Whew! Rough, huh? Good thing we’re all friends.

Now, the translation (and obviously, we edit a bit and arrange things as well, because speech isn’t writing, folks!):

So, I saw how it happens.

A comedian once made a joke that “your parents picked you up one day and then set you down – and then never picked you up again.”

It’s a little sad and poignant, but it’s also kind of funny – and thought-provoking.

And I finally saw how it happens.

When my daughter was in preschool, she went three days a week and had a pretty late start time. My wife and I work from home and log some odd hours, so we didn’t necessarily care how late the kid stayed up because she got plenty of sleep. She’d take naps in the afternoon if necessary, and if she needed more sleep, she’d go to bed earlier. But for the most part she would fall asleep around 9:30 or 10 o’clock watching TV with us on the couch.

What's not to love?
What’s not to love?

We had a routine. We would eat dinner, we would do some family stuff (watch TV or play games or whatever), but then when it was about that time we would start turning off the lights and put on a TV show that was definitely not interesting to a child – so, no more cartoons, maybe a put on a baseball game. Sometimes “Survivor” because that was a pretty good show for her to watch. She likes the games and competitions.

Anyway, that was our routine for a loooooong time.

And it sounds funny, but I won’t lie: part of the reason why I work out every day is so I can lift up my daughter.

I’ll wait for your amusement to die down. Hear me out on this one.

I was around too many people who moaned and groaned whenever they had to lift up their kids.

Didn’t want to be one.

It all goes by too quickly to waste time complaining about it.

In all honestly, we had a birthday party and I was grunting and groaning picking up their kids as I put them on our trampoline, because, hell, some of their kids are freaking heavy!  Especially the bigger ones that are just a few years older than my kid!

But that’s why I caught it. The “heavy” kid was eight. And I don’t mean fat or anything, I just mean she weighs more than the 45lbs my kid clocks in at. Enough to notice. Enough to groan when picking her up a fourth and fifth time. You get the idea. You’ve been there.

My kid was five.

That meant in just three short years, I’d very likely not be picking up my kid so much. Maybe sooner.

And of course, that means some time after that, I wouldn’t be picking her up any more.

Awww...
Awww…

And I want to be able to pick her up for a long time.

Putting your child in your arms and carrying her off the bed is a two minute-long hug that one day will stop. I knew this.

And then one day, without warning, it got taken away from me.

With the new routine of going to kindergarten every day, and getting up a lot earlier, a new routine was formed.

It was dinner, then a little bit of goofing off, and then a bath or shower. Because we usually eat dinner so late, we basically compressed all the times and dinner segued right into shower segued right into brushing your teeth and going to bed.

Often, I wasn’t upstairs helping her shower anymore.

So often, I missed saying good night to her.

But what also happened was, there was no need to carry her off to bed because she was already there. She brushed her teeth and walked down the hallway, climbed into her bed, and went to sleep.

It was perfect. She didn’t fuss and cry about her bedtime like a lot of kids do. Not yet, anyway.

And that’s when I realized that – with rare exceptions – I probably put her down and didn’t pick her up again.

I probably carried her to bed five nights a week last year. Actually, I was still doing it three months ago.

Now I’m hardly doing it at all.

I saw how it happens.

I don’t like it.

.

So? Did I get ya tearing up a little? No? Maybe?

It’s okay, sometimes it’s too early or you’re not in the right mood. Usually if I play around with it I can tug at the heartstrings a little. Remember, no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

Anyway, that 670 words sample is a taste of how I do some of the stuff I do. Hope it helps!

.

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE.