Showing posts from October, 2011

Chocolate Book Review no. 4 - The Legacy by Jewel Adams

Jewel very kindly sent me several of her books to review. With limited time, I picked one at random. Boy, did I choose the wrong book!

Don't get me wrong, Legacy is a great book, but it is very, very long. Almost 150,000 words, so a real epic to rival War and Peace. It's also a romance - several romances in fact - and I'm really not a fan of that particular genre. I could have done with a whole lot less of our couple going googly-eyed over each other (and cutting half of the declarations of love and counting of blessings would have shortened it considerably) and rather more actual action and events, but if that's what you enjoy, then this is beautifully done and the characters really are people the reader can love too, and be happy for, if rather jealous of.

Jewel has taken some risks with this book. It's written in the present tense, for one thing, and the narrator changes at intervals from first to third person. And yet she pulls it off perfectly. It comes across …

What You Might Not Know About Publishing

Some comments on my Facebook page made me realise that many people out there - and some reading this - may know very little about the business of publishing. Many of them may look at JK Rowling, Celia Ahern and Dan Brown and figure it's an easy way to make lots of money - see my tongue-in-cheek previous blog on

So here are some things which may seem obvious to anyone who has been involved in the business, but which many others don't know about publishing:

Write your book first. Or at least, write most of it. Most agents and publishers are going to ask for a completed manuscript, not a proposal. This means that you may be writing it not knowing whether it will ever be published. Accept that the only person who ever enjoys your book may be you. A full-length novel should be between 75,000 and 100,000 words.Once it is written, you have a choice about how to publish it. The traditional route involves sendin…

Book Review: The Believer by Stephanie Black

I've read all of Stephanie's books, and even though this was her first it was just as good as the others. When did she learn and hone her craft? It seems Stephanie just exploded onto the LDS literary scene fully developed and with as much talent as many writers who have spent years improving book-by-book.

The Believer is set in a dystopian society, "New America", set up three generations ago by revered men of high ideals and great ambition. Those who have to live in the society they created strive to be "patriotic" even if this means shunning anyone who has fallen even slightly below the required standard, not making a fuss when your mother is euthanised because the state doesn't have the resources to treat her illness, or even turning over your family for torture, imprisonment and execution for the crime of believing in God.

Stephanie creates a very effective and disturbing atmosphere, partly by having the protagonist, Ian Roshek, someone very ordinary…

Emulating the Writing of Others

My current work-in-progress is a novel about four very different women who are old school friends and all find themselves single in their forties. They decide to compete with each other to see who can find a "keeper" - a really decent man - first. The losers will pay for the winner's wedding. The punchline, of course, is that they all find a keeper, but none of them realise it.

Making 80,000 words out of that premise isn't easy because actually, there's not much action. Sure, there are business lunches and PTA meetings and even dates, but really it's just the minutiae of the women's lives, and that's not all that interesting. So to help me tackle this project I am re-reading some of my Marian Keyes books. Marian is an Irish writer and one of my favourite authors, but nothing much happens plot-wise in her stories.Anyone Out There, for example, charts the recovery from a car crash of a woman who slowly comes to realise and then accept that her husband h…