How to keep your social media accounts active even when you're on holiday

When it comes to social media marketing you need to have new content posted to your accounts on a regular basis. This doesn't mean you can't take some time off and enjoy the holidays though. In fact it's a good idea to take a break every once in a while and recharge your batteries.

Pre-holiday actions to take:
  • Tie up any conversations your currently involved in. It's not good etiquette to leave people hanging.
  • Decide if you'll be checking your accounts at all whilst you're away. Will you be checking in once or twice a day or will it be a total blackout until you return. This will have an effect on the type of posts you schedule for when your away. If you're not going to be checking in at all make sure you share content that doesn't need a follow up. Don't ask questions or evoke conversations.
Here's a quick guide to what you need to do in order to make sure you have fresh content posted regularly whilst you're away.

Your Blog
  • Prepare blog posts in advance and schedule them for posting at a later date. Take some time to create some posts that you can program to publish to your blog whilst your away. Most blogging platforms have the options of scheduling posts without the need to be there in real-time to post them (blogger ad wordpress definitely do).
  • Accept guest posts. Have other people write posts for your blog. Again these can be programmed to post on certain days and you also get the advantages of the guest blogger bringing new readers to your site.
  • Set up your social media accounts to automatically share your new blog posts on publication. There are numerous applications and tools you can use to do this. An example of one I use is NetworkedBlogs.
Twitter, Facebook etc...
  • Use a dashboard like HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Timely or SocialOomph to schedule status updates for when you're away. Although you don't need to post the same number of updates as you would normally, this will enable you to maintain an active presence even when your far away from your computer.
  • Facebook now allows you to schedule posts directly from your page so you can easily set it up to share photo's, updates and other content for while you're on holiday without the need for third party sites.
These tips will help you maintain your online presence even when you're not actually present.


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Review: The Prophet by Ethan Cross

Title: The Prophet
Author: Ethan Cross
Publisher: The Story Plant
ISBN: 978-161188045-8

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell


Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of America's most prolific serial killers. Having kept a low profile for the past year, he is ready to return to work  and he's more brutal, cunning, and dangerous than ever.

Scarred from their past battles, Special Agent Marcus Williams cannot shake Ackerman from his mind. But now Marcus must focus on catching the Anarchist, a new killer who drugs and kidnaps women before burning them alive.

Marcus knows the Anarchist will strike again soon. And Ackerman is still free. But worse than this is a mysterious figure, unknown to the authorities, who controls the actions of the Anarchist and many like him. He is the Prophet  and his plans are more terrible than even his own disciples can imagine.

With attacks coming from every side, Marcus faces a race against time to save the lives of a group of innocent people chosen as sacrifices in the Prophet's final dark ritual."

This book is simply brilliant. Definitely one of the best books I've read in a long time. If you like books with crime, mystery, suspense... this book is a must read. Strong characters, fast paced and full of action. This book was hard to put down and had me hooked from start to finish. I'll definitely be reading more Ethan Cross books in the future.


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How to Write Fables or Use Folklore for Story Ideas

They say all stories have been told, you simply need to find a new way to tell them. This adage is especially true when exploring the world of fables. Fables are defined as short tales to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects. Fables, folklore, fairy tales are often lumped together because their roots are deep within in the world of storytelling. Most of us are familiar with the more popular stories handed down generation after generation: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Tortoise and the Hare, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, Three Billy Goats Gruff, or one of my favorites, Beauty and the Beast.

If asked, most people would be able to at least explain the main idea of each story. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is about a kid who raised a false alarm so many times that when he truly did need help; no one was listening any more. Robin Hood is about a man who steals from the rich to give to the poor and Beauty and the Beast is about a spoiled prince who was cursed into a beastly shape until he could get someone to fall in love with him despite his hideous appearance.

Even though some of these stories date back to the 1400’s, they are still viable today. Why is that? It’s simply because the theme of the story is still relevant even in this modern day. Yet there is one problem, have you tried to read one of the original versions to a child recently? The prose is formal. The dialogue is antiquated. Most likely you spent so much time trying to explain the old fashioned language your child lost their way in the story. It is time to enter the world of retellings.

Think about your favorite traditional story and try to imagine how the story would play out in a modern setting. Should the heroine stay a heroine, like in Little Red Riding Hood, or is it time for Red to become a boy? Maybe the old fashioned setting suits your retelling, but you want the Cinderella-like character to solve her own problem instead of relying on a fairy godmother, like in my story The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale. Or maybe you’ve decided Goldilocks is in fact a homeless teenager in search of some necessities, like in my upcoming fractured fairy tale, Pillaging.

Whether you choose to do a retelling or a complete over hall of a classic theme, it is important to decide what part of the original story you want to include. Is it the character’s journey, the magical setting or the lesson learned? Do you want to update the anthropomorphic characters with real people? Define what story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.

You can find all sorts of inspiration by mining through the tales told over the ages and with the right treatment, the story will feel fresh to the reader and allow you to deliver a moral lesson to a new generation of children.

Kai Strand
Guest post by Kai Strand. Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page

You can find out more about Kai Strand and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit   

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Interview with Yvonne McEvaddy

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I remember lying back on my bed when I was five, having just read Enid Blyton’s Stories for Five-year-olds and older, and thinking, “This is what I want to do when I grow up, write books that people can get lost in.”

What genre do you write and why?
I write mysteries, thrillers, and horror because that’s what I enjoy reading.

Tell us about your latest book.
What would you do if you found your dream house and it was rumoured to be haunted? Would you buy it anyway? Would every noise in the still of the dark night have you paralysed with fear?

Alice and Mark O’Brien don’t believe in ghosts. They fall in love with Hawthorn Grange on their first viewing. Amused by the rumours, they buy and move into The Grange. 

With Mark working the graveyard shift, Alice is alone at night. Alone with the sounds from an old house, with the words of the neighbours whispering around her, the stories of the shadows arising from the graves next door and making their way into the house.

Will her imagination succumb to the rumours? Is that a door creaking open? Who is that standing at the foot of her bed? Is it just a dream? A nightmare of real or imagined proportions follows Alice around as she tries to remember that ghosts don’t exist. Or do they?

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
Social media, and also posters advertising where my books can be bought locally (in counties Galway and Mayo, Ireland.)

What formats is the book available in?
Ebook and paperback.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read and watch movies, but as I’m a busy mum and childminder I don’t get a lot of time to do either of those activities. 

Who are your favourite authors?
Karin Slaughter, Stephen King and Babs Horton are my absolute favourites, but I also love Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Chelsea Cain and Alex Barclay.

What advice do you have for other writers?
If you want to be a writer, then write. Find the time. I know it’s hard, but there is always something you can cut down on, or cut out altogether, whether it’s soaps or sleep, there has to be something. Writing is a burning desire that needs release. Most writers are trying to balance a day job as well as writing, at least to begin with. Every 100 words that you can squeeze into a busy day adds up.

Yvonne McEvaddy
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
I can’t remember who said it, but I read in an interview once: ‘if you have time to watch the soaps you have time to write a book.’ 

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Having a legitimate reason for my imaginary friends!

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Anything else you'd like to add?
Keep reading and introducing the love of reading to others. 
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The Rewards of Writing and Becoming Published

A few weeks ago, it was pointed out to me; writers are both creatives and professionals. It is a multipronged classification bearing both rewards and responsibilities.

Writers have the freedom and flexibility to work on their passions, interests, and strengths. There are not a lot of guidelines except to use the imagination and make deadlines. Writing for the purposes of self-fulfillment and entertainment can bring the desired outcome to the work of writing if the only focus is the creative side of the job.

As professionals the responsibilities are greater as well.  Marketing, Both the writing and author, can be taxing and time consuming. Authors are often required to give time and creations away for free; to gain exposure. The benefits of the professionalism are; writers will take themselves more seriously and become more willing to make time and financial investments in their work. They gain the confidence of knowing they have accomplished a goal, and there are other professionals in their arena who take them seriously as well.

Whether we like it or not; publishing helps writers to gain the sense of professionalism necessary to invest both creativity and professional time.   This will motivate a writer to become better as well as offering support to those who aren’t ready to take their writing seriously. It is common for a writer attending a conference, or professional gathering of any kind to face the question. “Have you had anything published?”

Being able to answer this question in the affirmative goes a long way toward connecting with other published authors, editors, publishers and agents.

It is both a benefit and a reward to build personal and professional connections with many talented individuals in the writing world. These connections can inspire the authors and create a network for marketing. The benefits and rewards of writing and being published also affect the level of confidence with which a writer meets his or her next manuscript, short story, or article.

Take yourself seriously and the world can’t help but notice. Reward yourself with a dream come true and then accept the rewards and responsibilities of that dream.

Traci McDonald
Guest post by Traci McDonald. Debut author Traci McDonald has been a writer since she figured out how to make words on a page. Traci wrote for English classes like most people, but she wrote everything else in between. Traci won minor competitions with short stories, poetry and lyrics before becoming visually impaired. That is just a political correct way of saying Traci McDonald is blind. Traci lost her eyesight 17 years ago, but it never stopped her from living life and following her dreams. She has struggled with her health and raising kids, prior to the publication of her first novel. Traci is very excited to see her dream in life coming true. She lives in a small cozy town in the Mojave Desert, less than 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Traci McDonald has four other books in the process of becoming published and a whole list of others she plans to write.
The World of Ink Network will be touring author Traci McDonald’s debut romantic suspense, Killing Casanova throughout October and November 2012.

Sometimes not only your heart is blind, which happens to be situation with Cassie Taylor, the heroine in this non-stop suspenseful romantic thriller.
You can find out more about Traci McDonald and her debut romance novel during her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

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How to write the perfect blog post

Whether you blog professionally, guest post as part of your freelance work or blog as part of your author marketing strategy, being able to write a good blog post is a skill that is useful for all writers to have. 

This infographic A Blueprint for the Perfect Blog Post gives a nice breakdown of the main factors involved in creating a good blog post. Giving easy to follow, step by step instructions on how to construct a blog post, it will be a useful resource for you all to refer back to.

Here's a run down of the main points:
  • Use keywords to optimise the post for S.E.O.
  • include an image/video.
  • The post should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
  • Link to related posts.
  • Make it easy for readers to comment.
  • Make is easy for readers to share the content.

So there you have it. A frame to work with when you write your next blog post to help you build it for success. Give it a try and let us know if you saw a difference in the results of that post compared to other structures you've used in the past. Did you get more traffic? More comments?

If you'd like a more in depth look at the points covered in the infographic check out the original post in which it appeared on


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Plot Points for Writing a Romance Novel

What are plot points?

Quite simply plot points are individual events that propel your story forward. Something that changes things, say like a first kiss. That one event now changes everything because now they must acknowledge their romantic attraction as it changes the course of their relationship.

Pretty much, all romance novels will have the same basic point plots: introduction, first acknowledgement of attraction, first love scene or first acknowledgement of the emotional commitment, a dark moment (conflict) and a resolution.

First, before we get into the bare bones of what a sub plot is and its purpose, let's visit each of the points I listed above.

The introduction. This is where the two suspecting or unsuspecting characters, usually the novel's main characters are introduced to each other or become reacquainted. It can be as simple as the two being introduced through mutual friends at a party. As an example let's say the books' two main characters meet quite by accident. After the first encounter they keep running into each other, either unintentionally or at functions given by mutual friends. This would be their introduction.

The first acknowledgement of attraction. Oh, this one can play out for a good long time, or the characters acknowledge the fact straight up, first thing after they've met. I'll use my novella, Timeless Sojourn again as an example. While the story is told in the first person, in Anne's voice, you still get a sense of what Geoffrey is feeling for Anne just by his actions.  He finds great pleasure in aggravating her one minute, while the next, he's kind, serious and advising her. Anne, on the other hand knows she is attracted to Geoffrey, but is constantly battling her internal voice. She will admit to herself she is attracted to him one minute, while in the next she will blow him off as being arrogant, and that a man is the last thing she needs in her life. Fortunately, Geoffrey takes the situation into his own hands, "shows" Anne what her decision needs to be, and get's no argument from her.

First love scene could be anything from a shared kiss all the way to steamy bedroom scene. It sets the stage for the characters emotional commitment to each other.  It could be that first kiss-the one like you might remember from high school. The one where after an evening out, the boy leaves you at your parents' front door? But not before leaving you with a kiss. . .The two had an enjoyable dinner together with conversation to match. The male lead character's simple kiss sealed their mutual interest, and thus began their emotional commitment to the other.

A dark moment or conflict could be either between the two attracted characters or not. It can also happen at any point in a novel. Perhaps before they have become a couple or while they are together. In either case, it still has the two in constant contact. As an example, it occurs far into the main storyline, after they've gotten together. It is a situation that had more than one outcome (more on that in a moment). While the conflict might not be aimed directly at them as a couple, but more as a way to professionally and financially ruin the male lead character.

A good conflict or dark moment has to show the strength and weaknesses of the hero and heroine. How are they going to respond? Is this going to be a trying moment for their fledgling relationship or are they stronger than the test they are being given? How is it going to take them into the next part? The resolution.

Ah yes, the resolution. I love writing resolutions because so much can be done. There are so many ways the conflict can be resolved.

The type of book you're writing can also play a part of how the conflict is resolved. If the book is to be a stand-alone novel, the resolution should come by the end of the book. With a series of novellas or even a series of novels, the conflict is usually not finished by the end of the book. While the characters do take steps to resolve the conflict in the first book, it may seem to the reader that it is not finished. That not all is known, which is part of the fun of writing a series. . .the writer can leave the conflict seemingly unresolved. Let the outcome or part of it spill over into the next book. It baits the reader and leaves them wanting to know more. Sort of like a television soap opera.

Now that I've shown you how those parts of a novel work, let's get back to the sub plots and what it is and how it works. . .

The sub plot must of course support and advance the main storyline, the romance between the main characters. The integration of sub plots into the main plot should be seamless. What makes romance novels unique is the specific details to each plot point, and how each point fits into the main story.

So exactly what is a subplot? 

A subplot is exactly the same thing as the novel’s central plot, only it is much smaller. While the main plot should always begin and end the novel, any minor plots should happen within these.

Subplots are useful in turning what might otherwise have been a very slender novel into something more substantial. Short stories usually consist of one plot. Turn this one simple plot into a much lengthier one, and you will have something recognizable as a novel on your hands.

Most novels are a truly complex story with multiple strands running through it. But beyond merely bumping up the word count and adding complexity to the story, there are even stronger advantages to adding subplots to a novel.

They help with the characterization and can also help with the portrayal of the theme. Lastly, they add variety to the novel.

And how exactly do you handle subplots?

The key when plotting a novel with several plot lines is not becoming confused, to treat each as a plot. In other words treat the main plot and all the lesser ones as entirely separate mini novels. There will be a lot of switching and moving around and merging, but you should end up with a main plot containing as many subplots as you have written. There will be a large amount of common ground between the plot and subplots, but focusing on each in a separate story and ignoring the others, at least initially will result in a much stronger novel.

Jamie Salisbury
Guest post by Jamie Salisbury. Jamie Salisbury cannot imagine a time when she did not write. A skill that has served her well throughout her diversified professional career that encompassed public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing, and special event planning.

An avid reader of history, biographies, and romance it's only natural that she prefers to write  romances with characters said to be "so authentic they spring forth from the page and shake the reader's hand." No stranger to life threatening situations Jamie pulls from life experience when she creates her stories. Such as when her family had to escape Chile when she was a teen because of the unstable political climate.

Finding herself unable to walk great distances  as a result of  several foot surgeries, she started writing once again as a way to pass the time. With the completion of her first novel Perpetual Love she dove head first into the eBook and digital publishing paradigm. She couldn't be happier with her decision to grab the publishing industry by the shoulders and force it to pay attention to all she has to offer.

Contact Links
Twitter: @JamieRSalisbury

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10 Tips to Increase your Online Sales this Hoilday Season

It's that time of year again. The Holidays are upon us and people are thinking about what presents they'll be sharing. This infographic by Launch Grow Joy has some positive statistics for us writers. In fact 53% said they what to receive books* as gifts and with 52% of shoppers planning on making online purchases authors, especially of kindle and other electronic formats will hopefully see a nice increase in sales.

Follow these tips to optimise your sales this holiday season:

*the category that books are in was the most popular.

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Interview with Danica Winters

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 
I think I have always wanted be a writer, but it didn’t become a feasible reality until a few years ago.  I had recently been cleared of cancer and found that I what I most desperately wanted was to entertain other people.  I think there is strength in humour and I would like to tap into this and help others.

What genre do you write and why?
I write paranormal romance with an edge.  Everything I write has a dark, suspenseful, and sexy side.  I like to surprise my readers and keep them on the edges of their seats.

Tell us about your latest book.
Ellie Smith, an emotionally stunted dancer, finds more than she bargains for after her human life is taken by the vampire, Master Liam.  Once inside the Vampire’s underground lair, the Keres Den, she meets Ian, an immortal Viking warrior, who is infiltrating the soulless prison.

As Ellie begins her training, she learns that the dark tunnels around her are filled with even darker secrets.  As the truth of her existence come to light, she is faced with a choice—does she let her past dictate her future, or can she begin to feel again?
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I am a very social network centered person.  Like most modern authors, it is important to stress the fact that we must be active.  I love talking to fans, doing interviews and helping out other authors.  Unless you are an author who is struck by marketing lightening I think being present is imperative for success.

What formats is the book available in?
This novella is in e-book format. 
However, my recently released novel, Curse of the Wolf is available in paperback.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I live and work in Montana and as such, I am a very outdoorsy woman.  I fish and kayak in the summer, log and pick berries in the fall, and sled in the winter.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Follow your heart.  So many people say it, but to succeed you must write the book that is in your heart.  Yes, make it marketable, but write whatever it is you choose.  Push your boundaries and make yourself uncomfortable.  If you do, you will succeed.

Danica Winters
What's the best thing about being a writer?
As a romance author I have the opportunity to surround myself with other romance authors.  These women are amazing.  They are always willing to help out other authors whether it means giving a heads-up about marketing opportunities or beta reading a novel. 

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
You can find out more about me and my writing on my website:

And I also have another blog where I host paranormal authors and there books.  Which can be found here:

Anything else you'd like to add?
I just want to thank all my new and loyal readers.  You are what keep me writing.
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30 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

If you want to get full mileage out of your blog posts you need to be promoting them. It's not enough to just publish them and hope people find them. The web contains more than 8 billion pages and there are 152 million blogs on the internet.  That's a LOT of competition!

80% of active internet users visit social networks and blogs. Following the tips in this infographic by Launch Grow Joy will help make sure at least some of them are reading YOUR blog and that your posts are getting the attention they deserve.

Statistics via The Social Skinny 


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20 Blog Talk Radio Shows for Writers

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Review: Marketing Your Book On Amazon: 21 Things You Can Easily Do For Free To Get More Exposure and Sales

Title: Marketing Your Book On Amazon: 21 Things You Can Easily Do For Free To Get More Exposure and Sales (Book Marketing on a Shoestring Budget)

Author: Shelley Hitz


Publisher: Body and Soul Publishing

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell

This book is a gold-mine of information and resources. Every author, be it newbie or experienced, should have a copy of this book. Easy to follow step by step instructions with screenshots to make everything as simple as possible. Although I already knew about some of the material covered it included some stuff that I'd never considered before too. The extra bonus links included are great too.

What is included in this book:
  1. Know the Anatomy of an Amazon Book Sales Page
  2. Choose the Best Categories For Your Book
  3. Sign Up For Author Central
  4. Add Your Books to Your Author Profile
  5. Change Your Book Categories For Print Books
  6. Change Your Book Categories for Kindle eBooks
  7. Make Sure the Print and Kindle Versions Are Linked
  8. Add Search Keywords To Your Book
  9. Add Tags to Your Book Sales Page
  10. Update Your Author Profile
  11. Post Your Most Powerful Reviews on Your Book Sales Page
  12. Add From the Author to Your Book Sales Page
  13. Create a Compelling Book Description
  14. Update Your Amazon Public Profile
  15. Add Extras Through Shelfari
  16. Get Valuable Sales Data For Print and Kindle Books
  17. Get Customer Reviews For Your Book
  18. Sign Up For The Amazon Associate Program
  19. Digitally Autograph Your Kindle eBooks
  20. Promote Your Book Via Social Media
  21. Promote Your New Book Using KDP Select
Plus a whole bunch of extra bonuses.

If you're looking to succeed on Amazon this book will send you in the right direction.

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Never have a backup plan

Probably the worst advice I ever got from my father—may he rest in peace and not come back to haunt me—was, “You need to have a backup plan.” Of course, this was in response to my desire to go to a great liberal arts college to major in writing. I have wanted to be a writer since third grade. I bleed ink if you cut me. But once the dye was set from his advice, it took over three decades to bleach it out.    

Looking back, I realize that this was coming from a man who bought his first camera at 14, spent hordes of money on his ‘hobby,’ shot millions of photos in his lifetime, and never made one thin dime selling or competing. He died not actualizing his lifelong dream of becoming a professional photographer. And that is sad to me.

Why? Precisely because he had a backup plan. And once he started taking on grown-up responsibilities, his backup plan became a survival plan. I couldn’t have asked for a better father because he showed me the most valuable lesson by living it. I love my dad, but I don’t want to end my life living with the regrets of an artist unfulfilled.
  • Backup plans don’t work because they are a misnomer. Anyone who has been encouraged to have one of these or has been the victim to this kind of thinking knows full well they are euphemisms for your real plan. Backup plans, simply put, become your career, and if you’re not careful, your life.
  • Backup plans feed on negativity. From the get-go, they come from a place of failure. Backup plans assume, like prenuptials, that the marriage isn’t going to work. (Not that I’m against prenuptials.) But inherent in the plan’s very existence in your life is the unspoken belief that you will fail, so you better have something else in the wings.
  • Backup plans take precious time and resources away from what should be your real plan. Putting together a backup plan means dividing your attention, and as a creative, that means parceling out energy that could and should be going to your art. (The biggest complaint of part-time writers is not having enough time to write.)
  • Backup plans lie to you. Like mistresses who lead you astray in your marriage, a backup plan will tell you you’re doing the right thing, that this is what you really want, that writing is just a whim and she’s the real deal. Wrong. Backup plans seduce and then drop you like a sack of dirt when you’re too old to realize you’ve wasted all of your time on the wrong woman.

I can hear all the objections already. Why? Because I wrote them all, kept them stuffed in my pocket and palmed them with great relish over the years. Every time someone would say to me, “Why aren’t you writing novels?” there they were at the ready to toss as an answer to that offending question.

All the while, they knew, just like I did, that I was ultimately lying to myself.  Excuses are like that, you know. Everyone sees right through them.  The hours spent talking myself out of following my passion could have been so much better put to use by writing. 

I guess it all comes down to how badly someone wants her dream. It’s common for people to come up to me when they find out I’m a writer and say, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to write.” I used to empathize when I was immersed in my own backup plan. Now I say, “Then why don’t you?”

Guest post by Lenore Skomal, a career author with 18 publishing books. Her latest release, BLUFF is available on Amazon in both hard copy and Kindle.  Visit her at

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