Review: The Last Roundhead

Review: The Last Roundhead

In a market where formulaic fiction is churned out an ever-increasing pace, The Last Roundhead has a rare distinction indeed – it is something truly different, a genre-bending gem that mixes laughter with melancholy, substance with frivolity, and vulgarity with...
Review: Heresy by S. J. Parris

Review: Heresy by S. J. Parris

I’ve just finished Heresy by S. J. Parris, the first in her Giordano Bruno historical thriller series, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided a review is in order. Set in 1583, Heresy introduces us to an England riven by religious strife. The English Reformation has...
How to hook your reader in chapter one

How to hook your reader in chapter one

The first chapter of your novel – or your prologue if you prefer – must contain a compelling opening hook, giving the reader a taste of what’s to come and persuading them that the rest of your story isn’t to be missed. Get it right and your reader will commit to your...
A guide to capitalising titles and ranks

A guide to capitalising titles and ranks

If you’ve ever had a hard time wrapping your head around when you should and shouldn’t capitalise words like ‘sergeant’, ‘doctor’, ‘queen’, and ‘sir’, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Probably about half of the manuscripts I edit contain...
Review: The King’s Justice

Review: The King’s Justice

I was recently fortunate enough to enjoy two weeks of holiday… so essentially two weeks in which to read whatever I wanted, regardless of genre. My initial plan was to read A Song of Ice and Fire – which I did, for a while anyway – but of course I eventually...
Five ways to fix a sagging middle

Five ways to fix a sagging middle

No, I promise I’m not moonlighting as a personal trainer. When I talk about a sagging middle, I’m referring to the way some stories lose their momentum as they reach the halfway point. It’s a common problem – affecting perhaps 10 per cent of the manuscripts I edit –...