The Serial Dater’s first reviews

My latest ‘baby’ is only hours old but already some fabulous reviews. I’ll probably bore you rigid with all my gushing, or rather other people’s mild gushing but it makes a change to talk about my writing…

And on Amazon.co.uk:

“A light-hearted and fun read as we follow Izzy through the month of May and her 31 dates. With the dates as the focal point, we as the reader accompany Izzy as she meets an assortment of men in a range of places. Through her column Izzy then reflects on her dates and her month of dating and develops a ‘shopping list’ of dos and don’ts for online dating – hence the title of the book. Within the context of writing her column we get to meet Izzy’s best work friend – Donna a lively character and her boss William as well as observing the general office dynamics. Written entirely in the first person I enjoyed this book a lot, while I struggled to hold in mind the 31 men as individuals this didn’t matter although there were many funny moments along the way. I particularly enjoyed the newspaper column entries where Izzy reflected on how the date had gone and what she had learnt from the experience. These articles bought to mind Carrie Bradshaw (who I love) and I could almost hear the voice of Sarah Jessica Parker as she ‘couldn’t help to wonder’. Make no mistake though, this isn’t Sex and the City – it’s a great story in it’s own right. Izzy as a character was likeable – as a professional journalist she was strong and confident, she took the task in her stride and although some of the men she met can only be described as fools, she was unaffected by knock backs and refused to let the words or behaviours of some of her dates affect her confidence. I found this stance admirable as she engaged in the task assigned to her in a pragmatic manner, committed to enjoy the experience as well as creating a terrific column for the newspaper. Overall a very enjoyable read – short chapters, generally broken down into sections detailing the date, the office and the article, maintained my engagement as a reader. Despite being a ‘light’ read, Izzy’s reflections carried words of wisdom as did her attitude as a strong female character. Recommended reading by me!”

“Laugh out loud is right. It’s a bit of a while since I was last dating, and this book brought it all screaming back to me. And reminded me not to be so petty with my hubs about him leaving pants on the floor and forgetting to put the bins out. After all, he is pretty perfect, and judging by my past dates, I am lucky to have him (and not be out in the dating pool again!). In the first few chapters, sometimes I felt that there was a bit too much detail in the way of information, that did detract from the story to begin with. As the book went on however, the writing flowed a lot better, and I realised that this was clever and quite intentional. The main character, Izzy is a bit set in her routine, and as single people get, used to living her life her way, and this came across in the pages. Once she got into the flow of dating, and the social aspects both good and bad, I felt that the character loosened up a lot more, and this showed in the writing. The idea of the book is refreshing, and smartly written, and the ending was just beautiful. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable smart novel that should silence the ‘fluffy read’ critics with a well executed zinger of a line. I would definitely swipe right for this one. The book is out today from Bombshell Books, so if you fancy buying it, or reading more about the author, read on!”

“It took a few pages for the book to get going but once it did, I was hooked. Once you get to the dates themselves, it is very funny and probably has situations that you have found yourself in at some point or another! Worth a read and a good book to take on holiday!”

And on Amazon.com:

“I liked the writing style where each chapter was a different date! Throughout the whole book I was hoping for a certain ending, and it did not disappoint. As someone who has participated in online dating, I felt so much of this book was spot-on to real life, and even though it was just an experiment, you felt Good her frustration and happiness she experienced throughout! I will say that 31 dates seemed like a lot as I was reading – probably because I was anxious to see how it was going to end up for Izzy, Donna, Duncan, and William! A good read!” (I chopped off a bit of a spoiler at the start.)

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Latest News: The Serial Dater is available on NetGalley

The lovely Sarah Hardy, over at my publisher (I’ll never tire of saying that!), has announced that the first in my serial shopping list series is available to request over on NetGalley.

“A laugh out loud read you will not want to miss!” (no pressure) 🙂 See https://www.netgalley.co.uk/catalog/book/143039 and for more details about my book, click here.

Latest News… (scroll down for new content) Morgen signs with Bombshell Books!

Yes! I’m beyond excited… my women’s fiction novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List has been picked up by Bombshell Books, an imprint of Bloodhound Books! It’ll be published on Thursday 12th July 2018, available online and from all good bookshops (so do support your local bookshop and ask for your copy). 🙂

– Tagline: 31 men in 31 days what could possibly go wrong?

– Short blurb: Given the challenge of dating 31 men in 31 days by boss William, technology journalist Isobel soon realises that her list of ‘wants’ and the reality of the men she meets are eons apart. Will she meet the man of her dreams or does the mix of the weird and wonderful instil in her that she’s destined to be single?

– Long blurb: Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleague and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s non-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

And you can watch John Scotcher read the first chapter… click the ‘play’ icon in the screen below…

My ‘5pm Fictions Collection’ (250 stories) is free today… for the last time!

This is the full collection of five volumes (250 stories) written one a day, and is free today, Saturday 31st March.

The stories in these collections vary in length, point of view (first, second and third) and genre.

Volume 1: Here there are family heirlooms, thefts, murders, kidnapping, Chelsea buns, and alien hums. We meet mothers, strange little girls, characters looking to improve themselves, and several cold feet.

Volume 2: There are criminals, victims, revenge, men in uniform, luck and misfortune, sharp edges, sticky red hands, no faded circle of skin. We meet a generous aunt, a fan of Hawaiian shirts, a modern-day Cleopatra, and a young girl with wings.

Volume 3: Here we have neighbourhood watch, chalk and fromage, a picture on a mantelpiece, , a whooshing sound. We meet a daddy’s girl, a cry baby, Dad’s Army, a borrowed dog, an African grey parrot, amateur actors, and others who don’t listen, are doing their best, feel stupid, or should have knocked.

Volume 4: Here we have young and old love, spirited and strained relationships, local and exotic locations, and those who love or loathe shopping, circuses and those who think their life is a circus. We meet a disillusioned artist, an eight-foot tall blue alien, untidy teenagers, a fortune teller, and several dogs and dead (human) bodies.

Volume 5: Here we have a passion wagon, a full moon, police escorts, tugged hearts and curved smiles. We meet a variety of dogs (including borrowed and best in show), a ghost from a half-empty bed, an American werewolf in London, a contented tree, and spouses with revenge on their mind.

Download this for free today from http://mybook.to/5pmFictionCollection (this link leads to the Amazon store in your country) and you can see the writing prompts that inspired these collections at can see the writing prompts that inspired this collection at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/my-writing/short-stories/5pm-fiction.

Below is one of the stories from this collection (my favourite):

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Book review – for readers and writers – no.173: Morgen Bailey reviews Holmes: The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small

Today’s book review of a novella is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. I no longer take requests for reviews but you’re welcome to send me your book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Being a writer and editor, I read and review books with both hats. If you’re a writer reading this review and found it useful, do let me know.

Holmes: The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small

Synopsis: With Watson’s literary career going from strength to strength, he secures a slot on local radio to publicise his new book.  Uncertain as how to well it went, he is still a little surprised when the recording isn’t broadcast. Although disappointed, he disregards this snub to his confidence as a peculiar but unimportant bend in the path of his literary career.

Sherlock Holmes is not so dismissive. He seizes upon the event, certain that there is more to this rebuff than meets the eye. He grills Watson to the content of his interview, convinced a key fact will reveal all. There is nothing. Watson is sure off that. An investigation ensues that takes Holmes to the end of the known world, a place just near Thirsk.

The Darlington Substitution is a retrospective account, occurring during the same time as the adventures chronicled in Holmes Volume 2. It sees Holmes at the height of his wisecracking, foulmouthed, law disregarding deductive brilliance.

This novella is available in chapter segments via https://www.indipenned.com/index.php?p1=short-stories with more information at http://www.melsmall.com/fiction/darlington-substitution.

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Melvyn Small is an author and the founder of Indipenned, a website that champions the work of independent literature. Thus far he has written two books, Holmes Volume 1 and the imaginatively titled follow up Holmes Volume 2 (Subsequently republished by Fahrenheit Press as the Victor Locke Chronicles).

Mel’s perhaps unique spin on Sherlock Holmes, which places the character in a different time, location and section of society, has found fans around the world and is fast becoming a cult classic.  His writing style is pacey and littered with gin-dry humour. It has been described as “hilarious, clever and hugely enjoyable.”  The Darlington Substitution novella is his longest story so far and perhaps his best work to date.

Review

As a crime fan, I love a murder mystery. Although my preference is for contemporary – not a fan of anything before the 1980s (I’m a late sixties baby) – I know the Holmes and Watson stories well enough, albeit from the television more than the written word. As an editor, I’m a tough crowd but was soon won over. During Watson’s first encounter (other than with Holmes), he’s invited to download another author’s book so I knew I was in even more familiar territory.

The swearing near the start might put off the more sensitive of readers but it’s far from indicative of the story or quality of the writing. You don’t have to be a Holmes efficienado but I smiled as there were familiar names (the Twisted Lip pub to name one).

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Morgen’s March’s free 100-word competition is now open!

*** PLEASE check your word count (100 words exactly – no more, no less – EXcluding title) and do submit more than one story to give yourself a better chance of being placed. ***

Hello everyone. Yes, February’s competition is closed, with the results due to be announced on (or before) Friday 9th March. The theme for March is ‘superstitious’ which you can now submit and any time during until Saturday 31st March (midnight UK time).

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