Monday, 27 January 2014

Book Recommendations

When you've finished a book that you really enjoyed and you want to read something similar, it can be hard to find what you're looking for.

If you're in the UK, your library may have access to Who else Writes Like, but if you can't wait to get to your local library and want a recommendation now, my friend and writing buddy Jules Wake, has made this brilliant infographic.

I've found it really useful in finding new authors. Thanks Jules.





Saturday, 25 January 2014

VS Naipaul’s Advice for Writers

I found this useful advice for beginner writers on the India Uncut blog and thought I'd share it here.
VS Naipaul's Rules for Beginners

1.  Do not write long sentences. A sentence should not have more than ten or twelve words.

2.  Each sentence should make a clear statement. It should add to the statement that went before. A good paragraph is a series of clear, linked statements.

3.  Do not use big words. If your computer tells you that your average word is more than five letters long, there is something wrong. The use of small words compels you to think about what you are writing. Even difficult ideas can be broken down into small words.

4.  Never use words whose meaning you are not sure of. If you break this rule you should look for other work.

5.  The beginner should avoid using adjectives, except those of colour, size and number. Use as few adverbs as possible.

6.  Avoid the abstract. Always go for the concrete.

7.  Every day, for six months at least, practice writing in this way. Small words; short, clear, concrete sentences. It may be awkward, but it’s training you in the use of language. It may even be getting rid of the bad language habits you picked up at the university. You may go beyond these rules after you have thoroughly understood and mastered them.
I'll take rule #1 as more of a guideline, but I especially like rules #2 and #4.



Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year



“For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.” — T.S. Eliot


Monday, 22 July 2013

Book Review: Lost to the Desert Warrior

Lost to the Desert Warrior
by Sarah Morgan

Published: August 2013 by Harlequin Mills & Boon
Format: Paperback & ebook
ISBN-13: 9780373131778
Summary

"Walking into the lion's den unprotected, Princess?" For Layla, princess of Tazkhan, her arranged marriage means one thing - a lifetime of cruelty and captivity. Such an unendurable prospect drives her to throw herself at the mercy of Sheikh Raz Al Zahki - her family's greatest enemy!

Raz demands one thing in return for the safe haven Layla is seeking - this brooding desert king wants to make her his queen! Her freedom might be secured, but now her heart is at risk, for soon she's lost to the scorching heat of their marriage bed. However, it will take more than fire to thaw her guarded husband.
Review
Sheikh stories are not normally my thing and I haven't read one for years (in fact I'm not sure that I've ever read one), but the blurb for Ms Morgan's book piqued my interest and I decided to give it a go. I'm so glad that I did because I fell in love with Raz and enjoyed this book from its exciting start to the satisfying happy ending.

Layla is incredibly brave and a worthy heroine for Raz. She is determined in a quiet, non-feisty kind of way and applies logic to help her work out how to handle a situation. Raz is a born protector - both of his family and also his country. Together they are perfect for each other.

We see Layla's sister, Yasmin, and Raz's brother, Salem, briefly. She is lost in the desert and Salem is despatched to find her. Can't wait to read their story!

Rating
A great story which I thoroughly enjoyed. I give this book 5 out of 5.


Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read it.


Monday, 15 July 2013

RNA Conference: my first ever editor pitch


Back home now safe and sound after an excellent weekend in sun-soaked Sheffield at the Romantic Novelists' Association Annual Conference.

I had booked a 1 to 1 slot with a Mills & Boon editor beforehand, but as the dreaded hour grew closer I was more and more panicked by what I'd done.

On the morning of my pitch I felt more nervous than when visiting the dentist. I couldn't eat any breakfast (now that's really nervous for me). I'd rehearsed my pitch until I was word perfect. I knew my theme and I knew my character arcs. But all that angst was for naught. Pippa Roscoe, Acting Assistant Editor for Mills and Boon Modern, was delightful and immediately put me at my ease. My pitch was unnecessary and she plunged straight into telling me what she thought about my 1st chapter and synopsis.

The good news is my chapter wasn't awful and I wasn't publicly humiliated and thrown out of the conference. So thank you Pippa for being so kind and it was lovely to meet you.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Book Review: One Night with the Enemy

One Night with the Enemy
by Abby Green

Published: August 2012 by Harlequin Mills & Boon
Format: Paperback & ebook
ISBN-13: 9780263891010
Summary

In Argentina’s breathtaking vineyards … Nicol├ís de Rojas and Madalena Vasquez had a stolen affair amongst the Mendozan vineyards – until Maddie discovered a devastating secret about Nic, and left without another word. He will have her once again! Now Maddie is back, having inherited her family’s struggling vineyard, and she’s at Nic’s mercy – right where he wants her. He’s one of Argentina’s most successful vintners, and Maddie desperately needs Nic’s help. But will she agree to his condition? One exquisite night with him … to finish what they started eight years ago …
Review
One of my favourite stories of all time is Romeo and Juliet, and this novel gives a modern twist to Shakespeare's play.

The de Rojas and Vasquez families have been feuding for so long that no one is quite sure how it all started. Eight years previously, Nic and Maddie's relationship was forbidden and the consequences of it left them both badly hurt. Now Maddie has returned home to Argentina to try and rescue the family vineyard that has been neglected by her late father. But Nic will do everything he can to get rid of her and get her out of his life before she can hurt him again like she did all those years before.

I really enjoyed this story and Ms Green wrings out every ounce of emotion throughout the book. Plus she throws in some interesting little details about wine making (my field of expertise is more on the drinking side).

Rating
I couldn't put this book down once I'd started it. I can see why it was M&B's Book of the Month and give it 5 out of 5.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Beautiful Book Cover

My lovely friend, Jules, has just received the photo shot of her new book cover. Isn't it gorgeous?


Talk to me will be published by Choc Lit next year and I can't wait to read it. Well done Jules!


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