Gotta Stay Disciplined

your humble host

I was corresponding with a reader recently…


READER: Love the idea of a series with ‘Double Blind’ characters. I will be first in line for more of those any time.

ME: I liked the characters in Double Blind more than the ones in Gamma Sequence, to be honest. DB was a lot more fun, so there’ll be more of that. I plotted out basic outlines for a 5 book series. I have… let’s see… the opening two chapters of Primary Target written already, and the third is under way. (Lavonte’s old boss wasn’t happy about him leaving, and is shooting at him as he hides in a dark warehouse. But of course, he doesn’t mention any of that to Tyree…)


Every time I think about the Double Blind characters, I get excited and want to write more about them. I have to be disciplined and finish my other projects first, but it’s a good sign when you can’t wait to get started again.


It’s currently available only in paperback and Audio Book, but if you want an e-copy to read and review, contact me. See? There are benefits to reading all the way to the end of these things.

29 Better Ways To Say “Shone” than Shone

img_2351-19Synonyms courtesy of

Because “shone” should never be used.

It’s not a real word.

Oh, it tries, and it’s in the dictionary and all – but come on.

Nobody ever uses it in real life when they’re speaking, so don’t put it in your stories.

And if YOU use it in real life while speaking, get help.

If there are 29 better ways to say a word, use a few that you see all the time. We are creating pleasure reading. Don’t make your story harder to read than is absolutely necessary.

  1. beam
  2. blink
  3. burn
  4. dazzle
  5. flash
  6. flicker
  7. glare
  8. gleam
  9. glisten
  10. glitter
  11. glow
  12. illuminate
  13. radiate
  14. shimmer
  15. sparkle
  16. twinkle
  17. bedazzle
  18. blaze
  19. deflect
  20. flare
  21. glimmer
  22. illumine
  23. incandesce
  24. irradiate
  25. luminesce
  26. mirror
  27. scintillate
  28. emit light
  29. give light

There. Go forth and sin no more.

NOT A Fan of the New Ammy Proof Version

your humble and slightly miffed host

Got this in the mail today.

Will be sending it back.

I hate to be seen as a complainer. Life is good. But when we used to get proof copies of a paperback from CreateSpace, they were the EXACT thing people would get when they bought the book. Yes, they were stamped in the back that they were proof copies; that was part of the cool factor – if you gave one to somebody, they were getting inside stuff.

Ammy bought CS. I order proofs to see if the cover looks good. I almost NEVER do that!


This book rocks, the cover looks awesome except – that banner is kinda ugly – and it ruins the effect.


Imagine the Mona Lisa with a banner. It’s her, but do you get the full concept of what the Da Vinci was going for?

Pfft. Come on.

I wanna see if the colors look good and if the spacing works. I THINK it does, and I checked the computer screen closely, but the real version is always a little different.

The thing the buyer gets, that’s what I wanted to see. Not… not that.

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Anyway, it’s awesome (except for the crappy banner on all sides), and it’s an amazing book you can order in paperback only right now, but the eBook is part of a box set that includes books by 16 other cool authors, all for 99 cents.

To get my paperback here for a  bunch of cash, click HERE


To get 17 medical thriller eBooks for 99 cents INCLUDING my amazing book in the “Do No Harm” box set, click HERE



And don’t order proof copies of your paperbacks. Lesson learned.


Game Of Thrones Finale

your humble host

A few days ago, I was thinking about the controversy over the current series season of Game of Thrones, and how disappointed so many of the fans are. I admit, after the very first episode this season I said, “It’s okay, but it feels like they took twice as long to do everything as was necessary.”

Pacing is king, gang.

The final season of GOT? It’s just not very good.

And that made me think…

Shows should just get canceled.

Now, I don’t like it when a show I watch gets canceled. Think about it. You’re enjoying the show and then all of a sudden they come and say, “You can’t have any more of this. We’re going away, and we’re not saying where.” And you’re like, no! No, no, no, no. I want my show! And then you love the show and you watch it in reruns…


When the show decides to leave on its own terms.

The last episode of The Sopranos sucked. The last episode of Seinfeld sucked. (I don’t know about the last episode of Friends but I think that one was pretty good.) And I had a great feeling that this whole last season of Game of Thrones was going to suck (it has) so that the last episode might suck a little less and people will think it was good. Because otherwise it was probably really going to suck bad. Really bad. Horribly bad. Write letters to TV stations bad.

Which they’re already doing…

It’s probably like getting dumped versus dumping somebody. Something like that.

In the end, if your show gets canceled, you remain a fan and want to see more and that’s what you carry forward.

When it ends and it sucks, you’re disgruntled – and that’s what you carry forward.

Which is better?


Cancelled, you get to imagine its ending – the one that’s best for you. We all do.

Remember the rule of show biz: “Always leave them wanting more.”

There was too much at stake to not end the series on its own terms, and I’d say they did the best they could with the finale. I was okay with it. But the season as a whole was the worst.

Bad season, good ending.

Still a great series. I’d watch the whole thing again (except for the last season). Like the Harry Potter books and movies, I was happiest with the first ones. I didn’t care to see what happened after. The joy was gone.

Same here.

I’ll watch the shows again and stop somewhere in the third or fourth season, while I’m still enjoying it – still wanting more.

Wonder if there’s a lesson in there for us book writers?

Anyway, what was YOUR show that ended or got cancelled – and how did you like its demise?


#Newbooks – Do No Harm, a collection of medical thrillers

Robbie's inspiration

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As hard as it is to write a story with all the commas in the right places…

img_2351-19As hard as it is to write a story with all the commas in the right places, subject-verb agreement, a correct POV for each scene, a fast pace, great dialogue, and engaging characters…

…all that is only half the battle.

The other half is coming up with a compelling story idea.

Readers will stay glued to their seats if they are intrigued by what you’re writing about, and then the commas don’t matter anywhere near as much.

Emotions Make Everything In A Story Connect

We have addressed hundreds of writing related topics here on the blog; use the search button to find the ones you need.

your humble host

Try to paint emotion in thick when you have a dramatic scene.

Use more words than you think you need.

When Bonnie, your killer, is about to confront a random fisherman after the murder, YOU have the scene in your head. You’re seeing it in all its tension-filled glory.

But is the reader?

Did you put it on the page?

Usually, no.
The remedy? Deliver MORE than an adequate amount of info. For the scene to sear itself into the reader’s mind, we need to go bigger at those times. Have her holding her breath, wiping sweaty palms on her pants leg, interspersing thoughts about do I have a second kill I’m about to have to make? What does he want? Is this car a cop?

Then, dwell there.

Readers are reading SO FAST at those times (because it’s exciting), YOU can add and add and add and make us wade through it, because it’s hugely dramatic. What tales hours to write takes mere seconds to read – and we want the reader in that moment for as looooong as possible, to heighten the drama.

Here’s a good EXAMPLE, broken down into detail.

How long would it take to read 45 seconds of material when you are reading FAST?

(I don’t know, but it’s a lot.) Set a timer and see how many words you get through (of someone else’s book) in 45 seconds. Count the words and add about 25% to it. That’s the minimum you should have between Bonnie seeing the strange truck coming and her deciding to leave.

Next, there’s a scene in Stephen King’s book Pet Sematary where a jogger gets his skull bashed in by a passing car and dies on the MC’s floor. Get the book from the library or buy it online and read that scene. It’s a cheap lesson in drama writing from a real master.

Read that passage.

King shows the scene and then details the brain showing and whatnot, so

we HAVE to dwell there for a moment, in that gross visual. And he holds our nose right up to it.It’s gory but it has an effect.

You’re supposed to be grossed out because the MC was. This is different, but it’s the same idea.

It’s a technique. Use it.

The difference in detail here versus regular scenes will be noticeable but since you only employ it at highly dramatic times, readers will not even care; they will simply feel the character was deeply into the scene, so the reader will be – which is what we want.

Your reader is your willing accomplice. Give them what they came for.




Dan Alatorre has had a string of bestsellers and is read in over 112 countries around the world.

To get free books and updates on his newest novels, join his Readers Club HERE.