Guest Post/Virtual Tour with Giveaway ~ Protocol by Kathleen Valenti

Pace Yourself

One of the most nerve-wracking parts of being an author—at least for me—is having people read my book.

I know, I know. Isn’t that sort of the point? Like I blogged about here, having people read my inner-most thoughts, feelings and ideas feels like getting naked in front of strangers. As one of my favorite author friends once put it, a lot of us want to shout, “For heaven’s sake, please don’t read my book!”

Not exactly the best marketing plan.

The good news: so far Protocol has been well-received and people have left incredibly kind reviews.

The even better news: it’s been described as a page-turner.

Why is this so thrilling?

Well, for starters, it’s one of the things I look for in a mystery.

For finishers, pacing—creating that page-turning desire—was one of the things I struggled with the most.

When I first trotted out Protocol to potential agents, the feedback was always the same. “I love the concept, the characters and your voice. But the pacing just isn’t there.”

I always appreciated the notes and the time agents took to read. The problem was I wasn’t quite sure how to fix the issue.

What exactly was pacing (other than what I did while an agent had my manuscript)?

What did better pacing look like?

How do you create a book that not only propels the story forward, but compels the reader to turn the page?

I was flummoxed.

So I began to research.

I started by dissecting the kinds of books I loved to read. Mysteries. Thrillers. Suspense. Horror. After working very (very!) hard to overcome the temptation to read for pleasure (which was what I wanted so badly to do), I deconstructed what these masters did:

  • Tantalizing with bits of information instead of the whole kit and caboodle
  • Leading readers through the story via the protagonist’s struggles and point of view
  • Creating ever-larger challenges that leave us wondering “What next?” and “What now?”
  • Setting up questions and situations that the reader knows will present future problems
  • Developing multiple pathways to the solution to intensify unpredictability

These authors had these tactics down, and I endeavored to learn from their amazing work.

I also semi-formalized my education by taking classes through Sisters in Crime, enrolling in the James Patterson MasterClass and attending workshops at writers’ conferences. These instructions left me with new ideas—and new tools—to hone the craft of suspense-making.

In addition to reading fiction, I also read how-to books and perused websites on the matter. Some of my favorites:

Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, by Hallie Ephron

Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder

Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks

Helping Writers Become Authors, by K.M. Weiland

Each had something wonderful to offer, and all helped me grow as a writer.

Ultimately, the biggest advancement in pacing came from trial and error. I wrote and rewrote. A lot. I made tons of mistakes, took in oodles of advice and was never afraid to go back and rework, even when it meant ripping out the seams and starting all over.

The book went through several major revisions and many small revisions. I killed scores of darlings along the way, but they were sacrifices necessary to making a better book.

I suppose that’s the biggest lesson of all. A book’s pacing is a lot like real world pacing. It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. Past challenges. Over obstacles. To your final goal.

I’m by no means an expert. I still have a long way to go. But now I feel like I’m headed in the right direction. So I’ll keep moving, writing and learning. I hope you’ll pace right along with me.

Publisher: Henery Press (September 5, 2017)
Series:  Maggie O'Malley Mystery, Book 1
Genre: Medical Thriller/Mystery
ISBN-10: 1635112397
ISBN-13: 978-1635112399
Buy: Amazon, Kindle


Freshly minted college graduate Maggie O’Malley embarks on a career fueled by professional ambition and a desire to escape the past. As a pharmaceutical researcher, she’s determined to save lives from the shelter of her lab. But on her very first day she’s pulled into a world of uncertainty. Reminders appear on her phone for meetings she’s never scheduled with people she’s never met. People who end up dead.

With help from her best friend, Maggie discovers the victims on her phone are connected to each other and her new employer. She soon unearths a treacherous plot that threatens her mission—and her life. Maggie must unlock deadly secrets to stop horrific abuses of power before death comes calling for her.







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When Kathleen Valenti isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. Protocol is her debut novel and the first of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series. Kathleen lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running.


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Tour Schedule

September 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, EXCERPT

September 7 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 12 – Girl with Book Lungs – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 13 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

September 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

September 15 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST, EXCERPT

September 16 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

September 17 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 18 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW






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  1. Celia Fowler says:

    I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Protocol — I know it will be an amazing read!  Thank you for featuring it and Kathleen Valenti on you Blog ~

  2. Dianne Casey says:

    Really enjoyed the description of the book.  Looking forward to reading. 

  3. I like a good page-turning mystery & this sounds like one.

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