A Taste of Honey – published

atasteofhoney(1)Having already produced three novels and two collections of short stories, I’ve learned that it takes several drafts and many days and months of work to produce something close to a good story. That is vital to me.

I believe that the most important thing I’ve learned has come from reviews of my work. Judging from sales figures and comments I started to appreciate where my audience wanted to be taken.

In my novel writing, I started with Ten Days in Panama (a romance-based thriller). Next I tried more action with Beyond The Law (a crime-based thriller). My third project was experimental. I aimed to tie together a travel guide and story in Amsterdam Calling (a psychological thriller).

Each of my forays into the thriller genre have led to me tackling different sub-categories and this next one is different again.

A Taste of Honey is essentially a one-woman fight against evil. The evil in question consists of more than one perpetrator, so the heroine has to stay one step ahead of the law. Anyone who has read my novels or short stories will be acquainted with my style and desire to see justice.

Honey dishes out that justice in spades.

The story is set in the USA so it is no accident that I’ve spent many hours attempting to dig out the British English and replace it with a language that our American cousins would feel more at home reading. I don’t believe the reading experience is spoiled for the British reader, but I’ve no doubt I’ll find out soon enough.

From idea to publication has taken four months, so has that time scale created any issues?

It has created issues, if I was to say that I’ve hardly been near this blog, or anybody else’s blog. I devoted my time, day and night to this story. The final version is the sixth draft although I feel sure that I could have spent more time and refined it further. There comes a point when we have to say, okay the job is done.

If you do decide to try my latest novel, please consider leaving a review. I’ve taken the precaution of giving the story the option of a sequel, but a sequel will be dependent on how Honey’s introduction goes with readers.

In 2015 I will be producing a sequel to Beyond The Law.
I am now going to catch up with some blogs before I settle down to my next story. As always, thank you for reading and remember, comments are always welcome.

H … is for hook.


is for hook.

What do I mean by a hook?

A hook will exist in a variety of writing, from articles, t0 poetry, short stories and novels. It is that magnetic word, or group of words, that grips the attention of a prospective reader or browser, and turns that person into a reader.

My own rule for short stories is to create a hook within the first 30 words. It may go over by one or two, but generally I manage to keep it pretty tight.

Example 1:  Opening lines of my short story, ‘Duty Bound’.

‘Gary felt pain throughout his body.  He opened his eyes and gasped.  A small monkey that had been studying him from six inches away shrieked, and scurried along the high branch.’ (31 words

Example 2:  Opening lines of my short story, ‘Mary had a little gun’.

‘Standing in the remote, disused warehouse; Mary stared through the broken windows.  Her tortured thoughts drifted back briefly, to life before she became a wife and mother.  She had been a different person then. (34 words

When writing a novel, I may not follow the template suggested by the ‘How to …’ books, but I do create a hook within the first 3 – 5 pages. I also create a hook early, and late in each chapter. In a novel, they are better described as cliff-hangers.

I tend not to give the solution to the cliff-hanger too early in the next chapter, preferring in some cases to keep it under wraps for maybe two chapters or more. Some solutions might be kept from the reader for longer, but I make sure the solutions are worthy of such a wait. The key thing is; they must exist to keep the reader going.

A good choice of title, cover, or both, might be enough to capture interest, but the writer must create a recurring interest to keep those pages turning. The story must tease the reader’s inquisitive nature, sometimes allowing the reader to play detective for a while, and then the solution to one issue is overlapped by creating a new one.

Your task as a writer is to entertain and lure the prospective reader into looking beyond the title of the short story, or novel. Tease them into looking at that first page, and then draw them in, line by line, and page by page.

If those hook examples have worked for any of you, those two stories are available on this blog. As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you back here for … ‘I’.