Top 18 Techniques to Defeat Stress Without Meds or Shrinks

Yet another wonderful infographic provided by Donna Norton over at !!!  If you haven’t already, check out .  Lots of good stuff there for writers!

Infographic by Donna Norton Custom-Writing.Org

Thanks again Donna!



Living That Writer’s Life

Image result for writing in a coffee shop

This week over break I was able to go to a coffee shop and write for three hours straight.  It was my FIRST. TIME. EVER. doing such a writing-esque thing.

Writing.  In a coffee shop.  WITH.  COFFEE.

It was honestly a proud moment 🙂

The truth is, we all need those moments where we can just sit down and do what we love best.  Sometimes, this involves being surrounded by people we love; sometimes this means being alone.  We bunker down in our favorite spot, pop in our ear-buds, and let what feels like our very nature do its thing.

For me, that’s writing.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not too different.

But if we are all being completely honest (uh-oh), we can’t fall in love TOO much with these moments of extended activity.  We have to be accepting that we won’t always have as much free time as we want; the atmosphere won’t always be perfect; maybe we can’t even be alone.  Or maybe we won’t even be able to get away at all.

It’s life.

The goal then becomes making the most of every moment.

Image result for writing in a coffee shop

Every day is unique.  Despite whatever routines or schedules set before us, nothing is ever set in stone, and “nothing happens the same way twice” (thanks, Aslan).  Thus, it’s pointless to try and recreate moments or atmospheres.  We have to go with the flow.

As writers, time is equivalent to words.  Or pages.  Or maybe even words, pages, and money.  So we have to use our time wisely.  Don’t be upset if you don’t have as much time as you want; look for ways to make time and be more proactive.  Believe me, it works.

Got some free time between classes?  Write.

Instead of chilling on your phone during your lunch break?  Write.

Is the baby napping?  Write.

Is everyone in your house sleeping?  Write.

We oftentimes say that we don’t have the time, but this is rarely actually the case.  Take advantage of the time you have, and make sure you have what you need to make the most of that time.  Keep a journal with you.  Download Word to your phone.  Carry a tablet with you.

This is possible.

The writer’s life is where it’s at.  As always, keep up the struggle!

What do you think?



What Makes a Successful Blog Post?

Writing a post that both grabs your reader and then keeps them interested can be tough.  A good title is a good place to start…but after that?  How do you know that people are even reading the 250+ words in between the title and the last sentence?

Several of my posts have been EXTREMELY successful.  Most popular would be To All New Bloggers Out There and The Reason Why People “Like” But They Don’t Comment.

After reflecting on the posts mentioned above, I started to wonder, what makes a successful blog post?


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This first point I cannot stress enough.  If you don’t write about anything that your readers care about, your article will be MAJORLY overlooked.  It doesn’t matter how perfectly you proofread, how perfectly you word each sentence; if your audience doesn’t care about the subject of your article, it’s just another post in their news-feed.

A big part of “Relevance” corresponds to having integrity…meaning that you consistently write about the same things, you target the same audience, etc.  For example, if you love blogging about anime, a review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice MIGHT appeal to some people, and some of your followers MIGHT be interested…but if your audience comprises mostly of fellow anime-watchers and bloggers, your article may seem downright irrelevant.

Have integrity.  Blog about things you KNOW your followers will appreciate.  This is the first step to creating a post that gets the attention it deserves.


Image result for simplicity is bliss

This depends on your audience, if I’m being honest (and I prefer to be honest 😉 ).  However, when in doubt, try to keep your posts neat and simple; easy to read and friendly to the eye.  No one likes opening up a post only to see massive, 500-word paragraphs, with no pictures or subtitles.

Think about what YOU want to see or what keeps YOUR attention when you read an article.  Chances are, you aren’t reading something that looks like a science textbook (and even those might have pictures!).  Keep sentences uncomplicated and to the point, and speak in a voice that is inviting and human, not so sophisticated you sound like a Victorian robot.

Have A Point

just as planned

Seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s true.  Your article should ALWAYS have a point, instead of being a collection of ideas that don’t relate to one another.  If you’re trying to say something to your reader, make sure you say it.  Sure, if your blog is the type where you like to vent and let off some steam, maybe “having a point” isn’t necessary.  But, sooner or later, your readers will like to know that your thoughts (as wonderful as they are) are actually going somewhere!

It Doesn’t Stop There…

There are plenty more things, I’m sure, that go into a successful blog post.  Have you ever written an article that just NAILED it?  Any advice you’d like to share?  I love hearing your thoughts.

What do you think?

How Do You Self Publish a Book?

A lot of people out there tell you that self-publishing is possible.  They give you the ups and the downs.  But has anyone ever told you what the process is like or how to do it?

As someone who has self-published over five books, and is determined to revise and continue re-self-publishing, here’s my step by step guide for how self-publishing works.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready

Image result for are you ready meme

This seems obvious, but it is DEFINITELY step number one.  Once you start down the road of self-publishing, it’s hard to go back.  Are you totally committed?  Do you have a plan for promoting your story?  Is your story as good as it can be?

If you self-publish and the answer to these questions is not “yes”, then you’re always going to be playing catch-up.   If you aren’t totally committed, you’ll be living in a world where you wish you spent more time writing and advertising…but you don’t.  If you don’t have a plan for promoting your story, you’ll get depressed because you’ll feel like a failure.  And if your story isn’t as good as it can be, reasonably speaking, you’ll constantly find errors and have to go back and change them.

I’m speaking from experience.

Make sure you’re ready.  Don’t get stuck playing catch-up.  It’ll save you a lot of time, effort, and even money in the long run.

2. Choose Your Venue

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There’s a LOT of venues out there.  A quick Google search can give you all the results you could want.  Overall, some of the top venues for self-publishing are:

  • Lulu
  • Smashwords
  • Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Kobo
  • Createspace

I personally have used Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing and been very satisfied.  Smashwords is wonderful because you can join for free AND they distribute your book to multiple retailers for free.  Your eBook is also converted into multiple formats, which enables your readers to download your book in whatever way is most accessible.  Of course, some of the money you make goes to fund Smashwords, but that’s always how it’s going to be.

The only downside to Smashwords is that it is PURELY for eBooks; no print copies are made.

Kindle Direct Publishing is nice because you now have your book on Amazon…and who doesn’t love Amazon?  It’s one of the most popular online venues out there; no better place to have your book!  Some of the (free) benefits of Kindle, however, is that they come with restrictions–meaning you aren’t allowed to publish on other self-publishing platforms (KDP select is an instance of this).

For print editions of your book, I’d recommend Createspace, which is essentially Amazon’s platform for print books.  It takes a bit of time to figure out how to properly size everything in your manuscript to meet the specifications, but once you do, the results are OH so satisfying.  Nothing feels better than holding your own book in your hands.  Trust me!

Obviously, there are many more venues than those listed here, although these are my favorites.  Check out each venue, and pick the one that works best for you!

Actually Follow the Instructions Specified By Your Venue

Seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s true.  You’re going to waste SO much time, maybe even MONEY (and who has that anymore?), trying to get your book to match all of the stupid, annoying, frustrating guidelines that will actually help your book look professional.

tired squidward

Trying to self publish without following the guidelines…


Smashwords makes you read an entire “How To” book, making sure you know how to format your book properly.  Is it a pain?  Yes.  But it’s worth it.  Don’t just rush into your venue, guns blazing, hoping to be the world’s next J.K. Rowling….

…only to have all of your excitement killed by a few guidelines.  Be patient.  I would also recommend not promoting your book or publicly announcing a release date until your book is formatted appropriately.  Otherwise, you might miss your release date, and THAT would be embarrassing.

Get a REAL Book Cover

My first book

Even if you don’t hear this from me, I’m sure you’ll hear it from plenty of other sources.  Get a GOOD book cover.  I know this seems obvious, but it can be very tempting to cheap-out and settle for a cover that looks like a 5-year-old drew it on Paint.  Don’t be like that.  Your cover is the first thing that readers will see.  The first sentence of your book isn’t the hook for readers; it’s actually your cover.

Yes, EVERYONE judges a book by its cover.  I do it.  You do it.  You can’t expect readers to treat your book otherwise.

Put some effort into it.  Yes, you might even have to spend a little money.  But do you want to be a successful writer?  If you really are committed, you’ll go through the trouble of ensuring that your book looks as riveting and enticing as possible.

Push the Button

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready for this commitment, you’ve formatted your book properly, your book is the best it can be, you’ve chosen your venue(s), and you’ve got a swanky cover, upload that manuscript!

It can be scary going to push that “publish” button.  Lots of doubts can and will most likely run through your head.  “Is my book ready?  Will anyone actually like my book?  Am I ready for this step?”

In the end, you can only ever be as ready as you can be.  Push the button.  Go for it.  Become an author.

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If you follow these steps, you can become a self-published author.  Be ambitious.  Go for it.

To show you how possible it is, here’s the cover for one of my books 🙂

The Darkness Within Paperback

Happy writing! 🙂




“You published a book? I could never do that”

Image result for self publishing

It’s really not that hard.  With self-publishing on the rise nowadays, it’s easier than ever to publish a book.  Oftentimes, that’s the only reassurance that people need.  After ages of wondering if we “have what it takes” to go “big time”, we no longer have to worry.  We can, more or less, decide for ourselves whether or not we establish ourselves in the writing universe.

Don’t be one of these people that thinks that publishing, even self-publishing, is impossible.  No doubt, it requires hard work and perseverance.  But there’s plenty of people doing it, so why not you?

Make note, however: if you choose to go down the road of self-publishing, be prepared to work REALLY hard.  Nothing will be handed to you.  The road is fully of bumps and curves, and sometimes, you even have to go uphill.  I’m not telling you this to scare you; I’m telling you this because it’s true!

Self-publishing has been one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.  Do you know what it’s like to see your book come up in a search bar?  To hold your own book in your hands?


It’s awesome, and it’s available to everyone.

If something is holding you back from publishing, shake it off and move forward.  Opportunity is knocking in today’s day and age.  Don’t miss out!


Interested In Being A Vendor or Panelist?

pay attention

Is anyone interested in a self-promotion opportunity?  If you live near the Philadelphia area, or you’re willing to fly in (we can pay for bus or taxis, but not plane tickets), I’d like to cordially invite you to be a vendor or a panelist at Nova Con.  Nova Con is a convention held at Villanova University for all things anime, comics, authors, voice actors, artists, etc.  Basically, if you specialize in anything nerdy, this is an opportunity for you! 🙂

Last year, Nova Con was pretty well attended!  We had a number of voice actors show up, some comic artists, authors….we’re expecting the turnout to be even bigger this year!

If you’re up for it and you feel like you have something to contribute, please contact me here: aultsom23(at)gmail(dot)com

Always looking out for my fellow writers 😉  Self-published authors are included!



Awarded Feedspot’s Top 100 Self Publishing Blog

thank you gif


Isn’t that crazy?  Big shout-out to Anuj Agarwal for giving me this award.  I’ve worked very hard to make a name for myself among the self-publishing world.  Feedspot is a website where all of your favorite blogs and websites can be found in one place in one stream of newsfeed.  It’s an honor to be counted among their Top 100 Self Publishing Blogs.

You can see the badge I was awarded, proudly displayed in the sidebar of my blog 🙂

As always, I couldn’t have done this without your continued help and support.  Give yourselves a firm pat on the back 🙂

I know I’ve been kind of distant, writing my songs.  Sometimes, songs are all I can write!  I’d like to keep up with my blog though, and come back strong.

My life is on the move in many ways…so are my stories.  Stay tuned.