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Years ago, in the heyday of blogging, I joined the throng. As a karate student and long-time lover of the art, I tended to liken much of what I learned on the mat, to my struggles to become a published author. As an extrovert, I never much liked doing things alone, so I created the Writing Ninjas, and invited all my friends along. For several years we were a force to be reckoned with! Now, we're the StoryNinjas, and we kick butt!

Now, I'm a USA Today Bestselling author, and a national speaker at industry events. I'm a particular fan of the Save the Cat method of story building. Along the way, I've been certified in life coaching and neuro linguistic programming, two mindset skills I regularly use to help writers find and connect to their own stories. 

I am Ali Cross, the StoryNinja, and it would be my honor to help you create your own masterpiece, just as I've helped over a hundred writers before you.

Those words are embedded in my brain from a decade of karate. Our family practically lived at the studio. All four of us took regular lessons (in different classes), plus weapons, plus demonstration team practices. And more yet, if one of us was belting up or getting ready for a competition.Becoming a martial artist had been a life-long dream of David's and mine. We grew up with all those awesome '70's and '80's martial arts flicks. But something more happened when we watched our sons perform. We felt more. It felt like destiny or magic. Like God. And it was always like that when we, or another class recited our school motto. Every single time I felt it in my gut. In my soul. There was magic here. Just months away from earning my black belt, an illness I'd had my whole life grew worse and since it affected the way my nerves recorded pain, karate was out of the question. Sure, martial arts teaches you how to push through the pain and continue, despite the challenge, but this was next level. For a while, even wearing clothes was a challenge because they hurt my skin. And I can guarantee no one at teh studio wanted me to show up naked. To save everyone that horror, I began the long (and so far unsuccessful) journey of giving up karate. But I couldn't stop thinking about the motto. We are dedicated.I was dedicated. And not just to karate, either. I was a writer. An author. I was definitely dedicated to that.We are motivated.Yup, I was motivated. I definitely wanted to be my best, and I spent all my time and effort working toward that goal--my quest. But I wasn't awesome. I was so far from awesome. I was full of myself; I doubted everything about myself. I was too proud to show anyone my true self; I was terrified I might never be known. I took life way too seriously; I longed for a life of a joy.But you know what I mean, don't you? As time's passed and I've talked of this more, 

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