Dan Alatorre is Writing a Sequel to The Gamma Sequence!

Awesome post to boost my upcoming novel…

A Girl and Her Book Reviews

This is an excerpt from an email Dan Alatorre recently sent out to his subscriber list:


To be honest, I’m not even sure how it happened. I remember being in my office, working diligently on the horror anthology and outlining the Double Blind sequel… writing a few chapters – you guys remember that, right? And then… suddenly I was writing a Gamma Sequence sequel.


He was looking for a few readers to provide feedback on what he’d written so far, and I responded immediately. Of course, it was spellbinding.


He hopes to have it finished by the end of September and ready for beta readers.


Here’s the mock-up cover:


View original post

A Peculiar Type of Morality

img_2351-23The wording of the title of this post should tell you I didn’t write it – and a few astute followers of this blog will guess that my friend Lucy Brazier did.

And you’d be right.

It’s been a little while since Lucy and I shared a pint at a haunted English pub. (They’re all haunted, I think, from the tour Lucy took me on. We shared  more than one pint, too…)

But I got to experience Cambridge, Lucy’s stomping ground at the time, and the setting for the amazing stories in her PorterGirl books.

18952688_10211704293036208_2068049671347141729_n

And it seems our friend from across the pond is about to release another Porter Girl novel! I have read and reviewed several of them here on the blog, and each is a fun read. I expect the new one will be no different.

2CE55044-077A-4BF0-8A20-F7DBDFF73367 (1)

I’ll ask if she has time to do an interview about this latest, greatest tome, and maybe our schedules will match up and we’ll have a chat we can video and share with you, but for now, check this out.

LUCY: “I thought I would pop you my press release for the new book!”

ME: (Don’t you love how Brits talk?)

 Here is the stuff you need to know.

  1. Every PorterGirl book I’ve read has been a lot of fun.
  2. There’s a new one coming out.
  3. Here are the pre-order links

Footsteps of the Templar (available to pre-order, releases 19th October 2019)

AMAZON USA:

https://amzn.to/2PiRsay

AMAZON UK:

https://amzn.to/2zqt1x1

There’s an official party, with swag, too!

FOOTSTEPS OF THE TEMPLAR – A PORTERGIRL NOVEL –
‘A Peculiar Type of Morality’

The latest academic satire from Lucy Brazier

The Blurb:

Head Porter’s hopes for a quiet life are dashed not only by the return to Old College of one of academia’s most controversial Fellows, but also the revelation that the Knights Templar may once have left behind something quite important in the College grounds. As Deputy Head Porter and The Dean mount a typically ill-considered investigation, knowledge of this esoteric legend has already fallen into dangerous hands…

Abandoning Head Porter to deal with a College wedding, a mysterious big hole, troublesome felines and a potentially murderous Bursar, Deputy Head Porter leads The Dean and the highly unpredictable Professor Horatio Fox in a race against time to solve puzzles, crack codes and follow a trail that takes them to the very heart of the legend of the Knights Templar – an ancient chateau in Chinon, France.

Coincidentally, this is exactly where DCI Thompson chooses to spend his summer holiday and if he is hoping for an escape from the rigours of fighting crime, he is to be sorely disappointed. in fact, he could be the only one standing between our heroes and the enigmatic, unseen pursuer who appears intent on stopping them in their tracks once and for all…

Looks good to me! It has the same flavor of the prior books in the series, and if you haven’t read them, you should. I mean, I did. I like lighthearted comedy attached to a mystery, and PorterGirl always delivers. It’s a fun mix of humor and real people and places – real history, done Lucy style.

lucy

 

69606937_2467669189960332_260654113425981440_n

A Little About Lucy:

Lucy Brazier, author of the perceptive political whodunnit Who Shot Tony Blair? and Finnegans What?, an idiots guide to James Joyce’s notorious literary tome, is proud to announce the release of this latest PorterGirl novel, the fourth in the academic satirical series. At first glance, it is a light-hearted romp featuring the now iconic characters of Old College, but closer inspection reveals hidden knowledge and a subtle subtext recognisable only to the most perceptive of readers.

Lucy Brazier is known for her easy-going, tongue-in-cheek writing style, but this latest novel also benefits from a strong foundation of research which links ancient myths and legends with real life, modern-day people and locations. To coincide with the release, a themed event at Masonic venue The Hercules Pillars, Covent Garden adjacent to Freemasons Hall the spectacular home of Freemasonry, will be hosted by the author and her eclectic team.

“Every book I write is important to me, but there is something just that little bit special about this one. The subject matter has allowed for a depth of mystery that goes beyond anything I have written before. It has been an enlightening experience, in so many ways.” – Lucy Brazier, author.

66004056_10157895612813455_5933052030099652608_nLucy Brazier was inspired to write the PorterGirl series after her stint as the first female Deputy Head Porter at a prestigious Cambridge college. The role itself did not end well, but the literary potential made it all worthwhile.

How The Facts Meet The Fiction:

Becoming the first female Deputy Head Porter at a prestigious Cambridge College was both the best and worst decision Lucy Brazier ever made. Leaving behind a successful career in the police, she was persuaded to opt for a change of pace and direction by joining one of the most ancient and famous academic institutions in the world.

She wasn’t ready for the bizarre and often pointless customs and functions of the academic elite, and they certainly were not prepared for having a woman among their ranks in what has traditionally been a male role. Difficulties in finding uniform and toilet facilities – among other things – were both frustrating and amusing to a woman who left school at sixteen with little to show for it.

Whilst making many friends and having some unusual adventures, Brazier was unable to win over the Head Porter. His subterfuge in trying to undermine and sabotage her role eventually got the better of her and she hung up her bowler hat for good after a year. But she had accumulated enough material to begin what would become a series of books – the PorterGirl series – and she hasn’t looked back since.

Beginning as an anonymous blog, her almost unbelievable accounts of College life, coupled with her wry wit, soon gained an eager following and her first novel – First Lady of the Keys – was published in 2016. These were followed by The Vanishing Lord, Sinister Dexter and a deluxe collection of the first three novels, plus behind-the-scenes and bonus material, Old College Diaries.

Now awaiting the release of fourth novel – Footsteps of the Templar – Brazier considers this to be her best yet. Until the next one.

65503969_10157877214878455_6031831879861141504_n

If you read this far, you deserve a treat.

Lucy has been a friend of the blog for LOTS of posts, from writing tips, to interviews, so type “Lucy” in the search bar and read some of the dozen or so interactions we’ve had.

I did a review of Sinister Dexter (HERE) where I show at length some of the plot devices Lucy utilizes that make her writing so intriguing.

She’s also multi-talented, as THIS little post shows.

Great at suspense in storytelling – the list goes on and on!

So, drop a few buck (or pounds, if you’re across the pond) and order up a serving of fun and mystery form Old College. You’ll be glad you did!

Footsteps of the Templar

(available to pre-order, released 19th October 2019)

AMAZON USA:

https://amzn.to/2PiRsay

AMAZON UK:

https://amzn.to/2zqt1x1

69889931_380569879529775_920797368574541824_n

 

 

 

 

 

Why Readers STOP Reading Your Book

I want you to look at these two charts. They are basically WHY READERS STOP READING A BOOK.

Chart 1 says the biggest reasons are:

why readers stop reading a book A

25% stop reading because it’s DULL

16% stop because of bad writing (more on that in a sec)

16% DULL characters or characters who are unbelievable

9% stop because you fed them an inedible info dump

 

Let’s pause there. This means if you have engaging characters and start your story with something interesting – putting that interesting thing up front, like the opening paragraph – and you don’t write BAD, you will have avoided more than 66% or two-thirds of the reason people stop reading a book!

Gang, if you can easily avoid 2/3 of a problem, avoid it.

Bad writing is subjective, but let’s assume it means typos, poor grammar, and improper punctuation. Again, easily avoided.

So: avoid.

And do what instead?

Start with something super interesting.

  • A murderer spying on his next victim.
  • A woman twisting off her wedding ring before she sits down to lunch with a co-corker
  • A first kiss.
  • A person struggling to light matches over a can of gasoline.

 

See? Don’t we want to read on to see what happens next? Of course we do!

So do that. And make your characters engaging. Fun. Likable. Give them personalities you’d want to hang out with – because that’s what we’re asking readers to do, to hang out with these make believe people for a while.

 

On to chart 2.

Chart 2 is a different version of chart 1, but let’s see what it tells us.

why readers stop reading a book B

30% of readers worry that the book will start slow. That indicates a dull read to come.

15% fear a tragic ending. Okay, but we have to get to the ending first, so table that for now.

15% fear difficult vocabulary. Mist of you won’t give them that, so you’re clear there.

15% fear TOO MUCH DETAIL – as in, boring stuff that seems irrelevant at the time, slow pace, dull plot.

7% fear a big boring back story, which is really part of too much detail

 

Genre and cliffhanger ending means they THINK it’s one genre and it turns out to be something else; cliffhanger ending means the book suddenly stops but the story isn’t finished, so they have to buy another book. That’s not cool. That pisses people off. Don’t do that.

So again, we can avoid nearly 100% of the things readers are worried about – and will stop reading if they encounter them – if we start fast and keep it interesting.

And a tragic ending can make a story sensational. Titanic. Love Story. Gallipoli. Dr Zhivago. Romeo and Juliet. They ALL have tragic endings. Fans love as good tearjerker. They don’t like a nonsensical, everybody dies ending that happens because the writer got tired and the deadline was due.

So the lesson is: avoid what you can avoid.

Sure, but do what instead?

  1. Write so that something super interesting happens on the first page, in the opening paragraph if possible. James Patterson said make sure something interesting happens on every page. Keep the story fast paced. Make the characters engaging, human, flawed, loving, sympathetic, unique. It’s not that hard.

2. Write your story, then let it rest. When you reread it, anything you want to skim, highlight in yellow. Anything you DO skim, highlight in red. Everything you read thoroughly, highlight in green.

  • Yellow stuff, cut by 50%.
  • Red stuff cut by 90%.

As Stephen King said, cut it to the bone.

(Oh, and an outline will keep writers block away.)

All this does is make your story lean and mean, so if you have assigned the proper genre to it, readers can’t put it down. READERS LOVE A BOOK THEY CAN’T PUT DOWN.

Not avoiding these easily avoided items causes your book to get bad reviews and weak sales.

Your choice.

A Christmas thought in August – from an accused narcissist.

Last year my daughter got the flu and missed the week of school before Christmas break – which meant almost a month of not seeing her friends.

She was so sad.

I was on campus to drop something off and decided to pop into her classroom to ask a few of her friends to wish her merry Christmas and get well soon, which I’d record on my phone for her.

When one of her friends heard my idea, she yelled for everyone to come help. Nearly the whole class joined in, including the teacher, cheering and smiling, creating a video that made my kid’s day/ week / Christmas. She watched it a hundred times, smiling from ear to ear during each viewing.

Still brings a tear to my eye when I think about it.

Where do you get your ideas?

Well, see if you can figure out where this one came from.

Guinea Pig Adventure

Ms. Wendy keeps two adorable Guinea pigs in her 3rd grade classroom, Ginger and Gwen. After watching third grade for a few semesters Gwen decides she and Ginger are ready for 4th grade. They sneak across the hall to Ms. Dina’s classroom and hide on the bookshelf to learn all about 4th grade. When they get hungry, they sneak food from the kids’ backpacks! But while the entire 3rd grade is frantically looking for their “lost” classroom pets, Gwen and Ginger are having the time of their lives. When one fourth grader unexpectedly goes home early, he has no idea hungry Gwen is dining in his backpack!

So

The third grade has to search every day to find the lost Guinea pigs…

The fourth grade is completely unaware that anybody has been spying on them – but they’re wondering where all their lunches are going every day…

And Gwen has to figure out how to get herself back to school so she can reunite with Ginger and Miss Wendy – and never run away again.

Mr. Alatorre has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

“I was intrigued on page 1; all the following pages mesmerized & compelled me to keep reading.”

Mr. Alatorre has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

His imagination astounds me, with each book different and original.

His thorough research is obvious in the myriad of details that build the story.

The characters are believable, the heroes very likable and the villains despicable.

“What would you do with a time machine?” College grad paleontologists dig up just such a machine and, one by one, they can’t resist taking a ride.

The results are nasty, nearly fatal.

Even so, temptation overcomes the danger.

The book also explores the very real, ferocious battles faced by paleontologists and archaeologists for ownership of their discoveries. Scientists, colleges, landowners, corporations and even the federal government get tangled up in espionage, with lots of lawyers thrown in. Nefarious elements try to flat-out steal artifacts.

The suspenseful plot twists around human nature, the supernatural ability to transcend time, a blooming romance, and the desperate lies and greed in the fast-moving ownership struggle. The team needs to evade all of dangerous people to stay alive.

Mr. Alatorre has quickly become one of my favorite authors. His imagination astounds me, with each book different and original. His thorough research is obvious in the myriad of details that build the story. The characters are believable, the heroes very likable and the villains despicable.

The ending of this book is bittersweet yet satisfying.

I loved every well-crafted word!

– Amazon review by Linda McKay of The Navigators

Want to see what all the fuss is about? Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators today!

Navs new final 11252018

FROM USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR DAN ALATORRE: THE NAVIGATORS

SOME SECRETS AREN’T MEANT TO BE KNOWN
A freak landslide at a remote mine site uncovers a strange machine to a group of paleontology grad students. Wary of corrupt school officials, team leader Barry takes the machine home to study it in secret, reaching only one realistic – and unbelievable – conclusion: It was designed to bridge the time-space continuum. It’s a time machine.Testing delivers disastrous results, sending one team member to the hospital and nearly killing another. When word leaks about the discovery, the ultimate power struggle ensues: the university wants it for funding, the power company wants its energy regenerating abilities kept under wraps, and a rival group wants to steal it for themselves. No one cares if Barry’s team comes out alive.Fleeing for their lives, the students must fight the school, the police, and each other if they want to learn the truth about what they’ve discovered – a truth with more severe consequences than any of them can predict.

PRAISE FOR THE NAVIGATORS:

AMONG THE BEST OF THE YEAR

“Amazing. Couldn’t put it down”- Happy Meerkat Reviews

“A MODERN DAY RAY BRADBURY”

“I never read sci-fi, time travel type books so the fact that I liked The Navigators is a true testament to how well it was written. The Navigators was riveting indeed! It was like reading a modern-day Ray Bradbury novel but funnier and wittier with snappier dialogue – an excellent job of combining fun, snappy dialogue with deeper, more meaningful conversations. This book was a fun, exciting, insightful and touching read.” – Lynn Cooper, author of Cupcake Cutie

“AN ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT BOOK”

“Dan Alatorre will keep you glued to your seat” – Lucy Brazier, author of Secret Diary of Portergirl

“I LOVED IT!”

“I loved it! Really good story line and it kept the tension throughout. I couldn’t wait to see the outcome and was not disappointed.” – Suzanne Bowditch, author of Elen, A Celtic Trilogy

“SOMETHING FROM THE SPIRIT OF ISAAC ASIMOV”

“It’s a beautiful story!! Beautiful! There is something in here, something from the spirit of Isaak Asimov and all those days when I started reading science fiction. The writing is so clean, and you kept the magic rolling all the way.” – Art Jeffries, author of The Collector

“THIS STORY HAD ME HOOKED FROM THE START”

“This story had me hooked from the start, a well thought out complex storyline that has everything. Mystery, intrigue, betrayal and romance. In addition, enough danger and excitement to sink several ships!” – Anita Dawes, author of Scarlett Ribbons

Read The Navigators NOW