Author On The Ledge!

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LAST DAY! Don’t miss out!

 


 

 

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Your humble host

 

You’ll know it when you see it.

An author friend has started the downward spiral of doubt.

Here’s an example from a blog post of an obviously dismayed author friend, followed by my reply:

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…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 ledge.

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Is this you?

Occasionally I’ll see a writer out there and 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.

In fact, it can happen to any of us. You’re chugging along thinking positive thoughts about yourself and your writing, and then you reread the latest 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 (I have messenger now, too; it rocks) 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.)

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!

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This does not have to be you!

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 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 chat (now messenger; I upgraded and it’s totally addictive) 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.

SUBSCRIBE TO MY FREE NEWSLETTER! Get a FREE copy of “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew,” FIRST SHOT at new stories, and exclusive behind the scenes access!

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Your humble host

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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.

Writing Good Dialogs

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Be sure to enter to win a signed copy of Savvy Stories HERE

 

 



 

 

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

I’m told I write good dialogs. (That wasn’t always the case. I used to have baskets full of dialog tags – even flowery ones. I was told those would make baby Jesus cry, so I tried hard to stop – but it was a hard habit to break.)

scared%20mom Yeah, we don’t want that.

It’s easy to write good dialogs, but it takes some practice.

First, I have the conversation. I write down what two people would say, and I write it as fast as I can. It’s half jibberish, too, because I’m a lousy typist.

eevn rough drafts aer hard wrk eevn rough drafts aer hard wrk

Then, I go back and add in the “beats” – the little actions and other stuff that people do during conversations. Because if I try to do it all at the same time, I usually miss something. Like the timing of a conversation, which is most important. In real…

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YOU GUYYYYYS!!!!!!

Look at this! How did this happen???

You are no doubt reading along enjoying today’s post, “20 Questions With Author Barbara Tarn” – as well you should be –

1000 blog followers 994 as of 02022016
It looks like this.

and LOOK what’s also happening today

(more or less).

LOOK!

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Do you see it?

What, you don’t see?

Step closer to the glass, Clarice.

Closer, please.

Closer

1000 blog followers 994 as of 02022016 c

What?????

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat???

We are almost at 1,000 followers? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

You remember a few weeks ago I was talking about this and saying we might have a party at 1000 and we’d probably get there in March (I hoped; maybe by the end of March)? It’s freaking February second! And I honestly questioned whether we’d ever reach 1000 followers.

And, to be honest, I’m still pretty sure WordPress has made some huge error in calculating all this. The real number is probably around a hundred, but

scorecard, baby!

We will probably reach 1000 today! Or this week! 

Can you believe it?

I can’t. I mean, I can, but I can’t. It’s crazy.

I don’t know why this has me so excited. Except it does.

My little blog that just over a year ago had NO followers except a spambot and a confused but sympathetic friend, now has almost 1000.

I’m probably jinxing myself for posting this now, but after I saw 994 I was pretty sure I’d miss 1000 when it happened and as a result you’d all miss the party!

Well, party on, people!

I think if a lot of you guys re-blog this to your followers, we’ll hit 1000 today. That’s kind of how this stuff works. Otherwise it’ll happen in a few days and we’ll all miss it. That’s kinda like missing the ball drop on New Year’s and watching it on the news the next day, or not seeing you car’s odometer roll over to some big round number. Not nearly as exciting. Hell, I’d gone dark, remember? I wasn’t even paying attention.

Anyway, we have a little bit of time to plan a party. If you want to come over to the house, I’ll be home most of the day compiling The Navigators into one file. (I should probably let you guys see a few sample chapters of The Navigators, too. Hmm… and the cover. It has a cool cover. And a really fun story. Remind me about that later and I’ll do it.)

I can run out and get some champagne but otherwise we have plenty of wine. Do you wanna bring stuff? We only have either two or four beers, but we have LOTS of chips for some reason. And a little leftover hummus. It’s red pepper style. Do you like hummus? The red pepper is good. We just opened it Sunday, so I’m pretty sure it’s still okay to eat. Oh, and cheese. We have a lot of cheese. because we have a lot of wine. And because we like cheese. But bring whatever you like if we don’t have it. I think there are frozen meatballs in the fridge, too.

Anyway, what I’m saying is it’s a party!

And it’s be cause YOU amazing people have read and commented and reblogged and followed and subscribed. (And because of me a little, too.) But now I get to stand here looking smart as a result of all YOUR hard work getting word out there about this blog. (And mine, a little, too.)

Let’s face it, you guys make me look good. So you deserve the cheese and hummus. And a lot more

THANK YOU

(in advance, I guess, but still.)

You’re the best bunch of folks I’ve gotten to know on the internet. I love you guys.

Probably.

No, really, you’re the best.

You really are. I promised myself I wasn’t gonna cry.

Let’s Celebrate!

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Your humble host with almost 1000 followers.

 

 

Thank you for being there. Remember, your blog can do this, too. And a lot more.

You guys rock. 

 

The December Writing Struggle

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Me, with a torn leg tendon. Gotta tough it out. Or not.

You have heard that people are creatures of habit.

I knew people who used to have a cigarette and a cup of coffee at certain intervals throughout the day. It was a habit. Get to work, pour a cup of coffee. Finished lunch, have a cigarette.

I had habits like that too. Not smoking, but running.

Every time I would go in the workout room and start lifting weights and doing my thing, the closer it came time to get on the treadmill, the more good ideas I got for my story.

In fact, sometimes I would sit down and bang out a whole chapter rather than run.

(Running is not something I enjoy doing, it’s something I enjoy having done.)

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That tree doesn’t put itself up!

Now, I mention this because everybody’s schedule gets really out of whack during the holidays. Friends come in from out of town, or relatives; you’re going out and buying presents and decorating. Writing time will be traded for shopping time, or Christmas party time.

Don’t worry about it.

It’s December, very little gets done in December as far as writing goes.

Just realize that any progress is progress. You’ll find out in January your routine kind of goes back to what it was and you’ll be all set to be a productive writer again.

Unless you don’t, in which case you’re fucked, but these distractions affect all aspects of writing. Editing, marketing decisions, you name it. I have a lot more distractions this year. My daughter is about to have two or three weeks off school! That hasn’t happened for a while. Don’t expect much to get done during that!

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My little cutie in a moment of non-destructiveness. Actually, that’s not true. A second before she pulled my chin stubble, which is why I’m holding her hand here. (Her fingers are pinched between my thumb and knuckles.)

Worse than that, as some of you are aware, I tore a tendon in my leg. It’s a little tiny baby tendon (longinus plantarus) and you only have to stay off it for a couple days and then you pretty much good as new—but as a runner, I had to bench myself for a few weeks!

Which, as I just explained, running—or the threat of getting on the treadmill—was where some of my best ideas came from.

Not having to worry about getting on the treadmill has caused me to not have as much writing creatively as I would normally have.

Plus it’s December and I have all distractions every else has with relatives coming in from out of town and going to parties.

And chocolate. There’s lots more chocolate around her and Christmas. I don’t mind that particular distraction.

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No, I don’t dye my hair. (Who’d make their hair that color on purpose?)

Anyway, rest assured of this one thing: It’s all going to get back in order in January sometime.

 

So, do what you can for the rest of December, and make a note for yourself next year that this is just how it works. Don’t get down on yourself.

 

Unless you get to January 15th and you’re still not writing. Then, yeah, put a foot in your own behind.

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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.

Author Profile: Claire Fullerton

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Your humble host.

As we try to meet new authors and expand our literary palate, we will meet folks who write in the same genre as us and those who write something other than what we write. I personally believe that a well written story can (and maybe should) contain elements of multiple genres. A drama should have a dash of offsetting comedic relief.  A mystery might have a romantic underpinning. You can’t be all things to all people but you should read things outside of your normal sphere to broaden your talents.

We also get a glimpse into how other authors work, how they started, where they get their ideas. Each one we learn about teaches us more information we can use down the road.

With that in mind, meet a fascinating, intelligent author who brings a broad spectrum to the table – Claire Fullerton.

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

CLAIRE: My next book? The working title is “Mourning Dove,” and nobody has seen it yet because I’m still going over it line-by-line. But “Dancing to an Irish Reel” was released six months ago.

00 claire fullerton 3Where did the idea come from for the book?

With regard to “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” I once lived as an outsider in rural Ireland, but it didn’t take long to grow accustom to Ireland’s social and cultural nuances. I lived in the region of Connemara, in what is known as the Gaeltacht, which is where Irish is spoken as a first language. The village I lived in is called Inverin. It has one grocery store and no traffic or street lights. Everybody there knew I was a single American woman living out in the wilds of the bog, but, I had no idea everybody knew this. It was a wonderful, yearlong experience where everything was new and different. When I got back to America, I started formulating the idea for a book.

 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? A year, but this doesn’t mean the first draft was worth seeing! The book went through many edits.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Jonathan Reece Myers as Liam Hennessey, Emma Stone as Hailey Crossan, Keith Nobbs as Declan Fenton.

Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?

Donna Tartt, but I’m not sure she’d be good company. Seems a little dark, edgy and cynical to me, and maybe not the best personality to ply with drink! But I find her books incredible for their unusual plots and structure. And there’s a woman who knows her way around the English language.

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Author Claire Fullerton

What makes you so damn interesting anyway?

I’m a dyed in the wool Southerner living at the beach in Malibu, California; let me spell the damn part of this out for you: Nobody in Malibu can get a handle on where I’m from. I can’t open my mouth without someone asking me if I’m from Texas, which is terribly disappointing for a Southerner from the Mississippi Delta. If this isn’t enough for you, I’m so damn interesting because I’m a ballet dancing German shepherd owner who was once a rock-n-roll DJ at a station on Beale Street in Memphis, before I was offered a job in Hollywood to work in the record business, in which I shopped a band named Better Than Ezra for a year and a half (more Southerners- not so easy to do in LA.) Then I worked in a post-production facility, where I met every movie star known to man ( name someone; I’ve rubbed shoulders) then moved to rural Ireland for a year, before fate landed me back in sin-city until I met my husband and moved to Malibu.

What is the best part about being a traditional author for you?

I have two books out with Vinspire Publishing, which is a medium-size press. The best part of this has been that they’ve literally walked me through everything I didn’t know about marketing and promotion, and I can’t stress enough how little I knew. I knew how to write and that was it, but after two and a half years, I now understand the game.

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

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Supermodel and Entrepreneur Cindy Crawford
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Olympic Athlete Greg Louganis

I taught Pilates and Ballet barre to Greg Louganis and Cindy Crawford. Seriously. They both repeatedly came to my class. Cindy is so good looking you can’t even look her in the eye, and nice beyond measure. And Greg is Malibu’s hometown favorite. A lovely guy.

Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

I can’t wax enough about our two German shepherds. I spend a lot of time entertaining them. Believe me, if you don’t give a shepherd something to do, they’ll find it for themselves, so I’m outdoors with them a lot, either at the beach or in the woods. Beyond this, I keep up with ballet.

Why do some authors sell well and others don’t?

I think the question is best looked at from the vantage point of where an author is in their career (assuming, of course, that they’re good.) A writer’s career is “a marathon not a sprint” ( I’ve heard this forever) and so much of it comes down to constant, let me repeat, CONSTANT marketing and promotion. The way I see it, it’s all a build, and one has to tap themselves in with readers to prove they exist! But at the end of it all, it all comes down to the quality of the work and the ability to keep producing.

What’s the strangest place you’ve gotten a great story idea?

The lobby of the La Playa Hotel, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, which is on the Monterey Peninsula. It was the strangest thing: as my husband checked us into the historic hotel, my eyes scanned the vast, opulent lobby, where there was a stone fireplace on one end and a sweeping Mediterranean tiled staircase on the other. I noticed a hallway flowing to the back of the hotel, which faces the ocean, and as I walked down it, I saw sepia-tinted etchings and old photographs taken of the area dating from 1900. People were in period clothing standing beside horses at hitching posts, the streets were unpaved, and everything looked eerie. In looking at one photograph, which was the architectural plan for a house, I realized the La Playa Hotel started out as a private resonance.

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Nice place!

This put a different spin on the stairs I saw in the lobby, so I walked back and imagined myself, at the turn of that century, walking up to the level above, where I assumed there must have been bedrooms. When I actually did walk up the stairs, I saw a cathedral, wooden door at the end of the hall and knew it must lead to the master bedroom. I imagined there was a bay window looking out towards the sea, and imagined myself standing before it purposefully. “A Portal in Time” was the book I wrote that led me to that imagined window at the top of the stairs!

 

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

00 claire fullerton 2For “A Portal in Time,” I had no idea in which genre it belonged; I just thought I’d written a good page-turning, rather off-kilter story with an unusual ending. But when I submitted it to Vinspire Publishing, I said it was paranormal, because it had to do with the idea of past lives. For “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” I told the story in the first person and made it all a true to life commentary on how I experienced Ireland, although the story is fiction. This makes “Dancing to an Irish Reel” literary fiction, which is my favorite genre. My third novel is also literary fiction.

Can you wash light and dark clothes together?

Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer? Can I now moan about the nature of my husband’s socks? Lord, have mercy. They’re of the white sporting variety and he tends to wear them around the house without shoes, which turns what was once white to the grossest color you’ve ever seen. I’m talking dirt-brown. With dog hair from two German shepherds. Have I turned anything pink in the wash? Maybe not, but I’ve never mastered the art of removing filth.

What “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

First person. I don’t think I’ll ever write in third again. I find other’s points of view too tricky, and if I write in the first, then there seems to be more authenticity in the telling. I prefer reading first person as well because it give me a person with whom to connect.

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

00 claire fullerton 8.jpgYes! I submitted the epilogue to my third novel to Southern Writer’s Magazine’s 2015 short-story contest, and it is a runner-up. It’ll appear in their next edition. I’m actually still adjusting the 81,000 word manuscript- going over and over it- you know how it is. But I thought I’d submit the epilogue to the contest, even though it’s not technically a short-story, but it does stand on its own. I’m thrilled Southern Writer’s Magazine saw its merit.

How did your blog start?

I have a blog on Goodreads, which I’ve kept current with these past few years. It’s a great spot from which to start a blog because so many readers are on the site. For an author, it’s a ready readership.

How do you decide on a title for your book?

“Dancing to an Irish Reel” came to me because it describes what goes on in the book between the American outsider and the local, Irish traditional musician. The young lad, Liam Hennessey, has never been in love before, so when he meets American, Hailey Crossan, he doesn’t know how to handle himself or the growing attraction between them. He can’t decide whether to draw closer or run away, because he’s an Irish musician, married to the music, and not sure how this woman can fit into his life. But the attraction is clearly there and building, and in Hailey’s eyes, she’s involved in a dance and trying to find her footing as a stranger in a strange land.

00 claire fullerton 9What do you do for cover art? Do you do it yourself, hire an artist (you can name names if you liked them), or purchase premade?

Vinspire Publishing hired Elaina Lee: For the Muse Designs.

 

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

I know the beginning and end first, then I write down highlights, plot twists, and building blocks that I want in the story, and perhaps a few lines I want the characters to say in dialogue, which will shed light on their personality as well as move the story forward. I also answer these questions: what is the theme or themes of this book; what am I trying to say? What’s the point of this story? In my opinion, there’s very little point in writing a book if you don’t have something to say! I consider all this the scaffolding of the story, and from here, I fly by the seat of my pants. Writing a novel will avail plenty of opportunity for side-trips during the process, so to speak, and if I’m not boxed in with a concrete structure, then I’m free to explore.

 

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

I’ll put these two questions together here and report I’ve learned the imperative, in writing of any kind, and it is this: after you think you’ve finished, walk away and go back to it later. You’ll catch all kinds of things then. I’ve heard it said that writing is re-writing, and it is true.

What was your road to publication like?

Ah! Great question, which I spelled out in detail on The Story Reading Ape’s website in October, which is how I was lucky enough to find you!

What advice can you give new authors?

00 claire fullerton 4If you think you should, then you should! Writers learn as they go along, but it starts with getting in the traffic. There is no “there” to get to, only the willingness to stay the course with commitment. A writer’s career will create itself if a writer allows it to. It is typically unpredictable, so one has to stay loose in the saddle and persevere. And never, never, never compare yourself to others.

Who or what helped you the most getting started?

Not a soul. I dove in the waters alone! But then Dawn Carrington of Vinspire Publishing believed in my first novel and treated me with such guiding respect that it ramped me up in my own esteem and gave me motivation to continue.

 

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

Always first thing in the morning, coffee in hand, which leads me to the answer of the next question on this interview: my fear is if I didn’t begin each day with coffee, I’d go into withdrawal.

 

 

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

I’d go where ever asked and make it my mission to tell other authors how to plot their career. I’d answer any question because I know there are legions of great writers out there looking for an open door. I’d like to point the way.

Best book to movie you’ve seen?

“The Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy- the book, not the movie. There was no way to capture the lyrical, insightful flow of this great Southern novel in the movie. The book was all about the flow of past and present and how they beled into each other. It is the ultimate “sins of the father” book and so masterfully constructed I’m still not over its genius!

What are you three favorite books by other authors?

After “The Prince of Tides,” “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt, “The Mermaid’s Singing” by Lisa Carey and “Peachtree Road” by Anne Rivers Siddons.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

00 claire fullerton 1There was never a time when I was not. I say this because I always felt the need to keep a journal. I documented everything that went on in my life from a very early age because it just seemed the thing to do, to keep a running monologue, if you will. My career has been an outgrowth of this process. The only difference between what I’ve always done and publication is at one point, I started submitting.

Do you hate cats?

No, I do not. I have one black cat named La Chatte. She’s a left-handed cat with way too much to say. The dear thing understands paragraphs. And our two German shepherds still chase her, yet she remains completely unruffled. You’ve never seen such stoic confidence in a feline.

 

What was the most fun interview you’ve done and why?

Now why would I be stupid enough to say any other interview other than this was the most fun? And it seriously has been. But Ronovan Writes’ interview was unusually creative, and Chris of the Story Reading Ape is a star!

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Claire Fullerton is the author of “Dancing to an Irish Reel” (Literary Fiction) and “A Portal in Time,” (Paranormal Mystery), both from Vinspire Publishing.  She is a four time, award winning essayist, a contributor to magazines, a five time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, and a former newspaper columnist. Claire grew up in Memphis, and now divides her time between Malibu and Carmel, CA with her husband and two German shepherds. She has recently completed her third novel, which is a Southern family saga set in Memphis.

http://www.clairefullerton.com/

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00 Santa DanREBLOG 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.

 

 

 

BEST CHRISTMAS FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE EVER

00 Santa Dan
Ho, ho, ho!

If you wanna get right to the challenge skip down to where it says “FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!”

 

It is Christmas time! And as most of you know, there are a lot of Christmas specials on TV.

And most of them suck.

 

Honestly, A Mom For Christmas? Look, I liked Olivia Newton John as much as anybody back in the day, but who needs to see that?

 

Nobody.

 

But throw in a few desperate B-list stars and some drunk, unemployed writers and BINGO, another “new” cookie cutter holiday story. Even if they’ve redone it a dozen times over the years.

 

Yawn.

 

This is YOUR chance to change all that!

 

It occurred to me that a bored person with a computer could probably do better than these TV executives! And, hey, WE have computers! And alcohol! Plus, doing this challenge is better for YOU than shopping/decorating the tree/spending time with the in-laws.

 

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!

 

Did you see that coming? So here’s the deal. First of all you go to this website

http://www.kitt.net/php/title.php

 

And get six titles. Pick ONE to build your Christmas Themed Flash Fiction story around.

 

The definition of flash fiction is: whatever you want it to be. So sayeth Wiki:

“Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity.[1] There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category.”

 

 

Basically I’m looking for something around 1000 words. It can be less, it could be more. If you’re closing in on 3000 words and you haven’t really nailed it yet, think about some editing. Funny, romantic, erotic, mystery, drama, that’s your call. (Keep it PG if you post it below; if you go R or harder, just the link will do.)

 

THE RULES

 

  1. You write 1000 words more or less on the now-Christmassy topic
  2. Post it on your blog
  3. Reference us on your blog and this challenge so your regular readers don’t think you’ve gone batty.
  4. Post your link to your story here in the comments section.
  5. You have until Friday 12 noon EST, on 12/18/2015, that’s Tampa Florida US of A time, for those of you who live elsewhere.

 

Here’s a bonus for reading to the bottom. IF you participate in THIS challenge, you will get a few days’ advantage for the NEXT writing challenge! Yeah, that’s it. I can be Grinchy sometimes. Ask around.

 

READ the entries by everybody and let me know which ones you like. That could influence the judging. Just sayin’. We’re not giving prizes. The display of your amazing talent is its own reward.

 

GET AFTER IT!

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Dan's pic
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.

 

 

5 Ways To Avoid The “You Spend Too Much Time On The Computer” Fight

00 Santa Dan(I ran this post last year around this time and it’s worth running again. I’m all about helping people.)

Nearly every female writer I’ve become friends with has had the same fight with her man: she spends too much time on the computer. (I don’t think ANY of these dustups came during football season, either. We’ll be ahead of the curve.)

The fight happens because your man feels disconnected, so let him know he’s not boring to you. Bored wives end up angry and file for divorce. Bored girlfriends end up becoming ex-girlfriends.

or worse
or worse

He probably doesn’t want that.

Happily, you can hammer out a writing schedule that works for everyone, without appearing to do so.

  1. Take a week off from writing and track just how much time he actually wants. Don’t announce this, just don’t get on the computer when you normally would. Attempt to be a part of whatever he’s doing – unless it’s woodworking; that, he wants you to have no part of. Because tools. Just gaze adoringly at whatever exotic hardwood object he eventually presents.
  1. As a woman you’re practically a pre-qualified CIA spy. While spending time with him during this week off, covertly keep track of things. Whether it’s an hour of doing puzzles or watching SVU, note when you start and when he doesn’t seem to require you by his side. After a week he’ll be tired of trying to be interesting – and you’ll know how much time he really needs.
Ghost Rider, the eagle on the move.
Ghost Rider, the eagle is on the move.
  1. Talk. How’s the (your local NFL team)’s draft prospects this year? Or the (local baseball team)’s schedule? Those two questions alone show you’re trying. (If SVU is on, do this during commercials.)
  1. Let your lion know he’s still king of the jungle. Yes, that means sex, but you initiate it – and don’t take no for an answer. Attack him after dinner and give him what he likes best, right there on the couch. Casually ask if he’s thought about having a three way with you and another woman, and then before he can answer, rock his world.
I got this
I got this

After a week, he’ll beg you to go back to your computer, not because he dislikes the new arrangement, but because he’s exhausted.

Then start work on your old writing schedule again, adjusted for your week of recon. Maybe write on Monday – Wednesday – Friday, and on Sunday morning while he reads the paper.

  1. Stop writing and give him a smile when he walks into the room, not the “I’m busy, don’t interrupt” face. He’s not being mean; he simply doesn’t know the refrigerator is where the cold sodas are kept. Accept that.
It's next to the ketchup!
It’s next to the ketchup!

Yes, it’s an unfair a one-way street for a while; but unless he’s a complete bozo, things will turn around quickly. He’ll have new enthusiasm for your writing and you’ll have a busy writing schedule. Everybody wins!

Besides, baseball season starts soon. You can go the extra mile with a new schedule until it does.

Opening Day is April 15?
Opening Day is April 3?

(Ladies, turnabout is fair play. Tell us your strategies to keep things happy and productive for the writer that is you!)

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Dan's pic
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.