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.

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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Another book (my 14th!) is born…. my Editing Guide

Yes, my fourteenth title is alive! To-date I have published three novels (a chick lit and two crime novellas), eight collections of short stories, and two writing exercise guides.

My latest book is my ‘Writer’s Guide to Editing Fiction’ which will be available as a paperback (via CreateSpace) and eBook (Smashwords, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk etc.) and I’m thrilled.

I’ve taken much of the feedback I’ve given my editing clients over the last nine years and put it in this book. Will this mean that you don’t need an editor? Sadly not, but whoever you use (I’d gladly help you and offer a free 1,000-word sample), will be eternally grateful (hopefully!) to receive a more refined novel.

So, more about the book… this is the blurb…

How to polish your novels and short stories – a comprehensive guide including a 170+ tips checklist.

In this book we look at (including some exercises):
– the components of your story;
– points of view;
– tenses;
– the power of three: beginnings, middles, ends
– another power of three: characters, settings, plots
– conflict and pacing
– polishing your writing: 170+ tips for making your writing shine;
– the layout of your book;
– and finally (a summary checklist)…

This book is suitable for…
– Writers of any age and experience;
– Writers of novels and short stories (predominantly – it will help scriptwriters and poets too);
– Writers looking to have their writing taken seriously!