Book Jacket


rank 5122
word count 30006
date submitted 08.07.2009
date updated 31.10.2010
genres: Fiction, Romance, Popular Culture, ...
classification: moderate

The Blooming of John Musgrave

Robert Burke

Neurotic author meets beguiling temptress. Chaos follows.


John Musgrave is content with his life - or so he thinks. A successful author of crime fiction, he lives a solitary life in the Dublin suburbs, churning out blockbusters and tending to his beloved garden. However, frustrated by the lack of critical acclaim for his work, he embarks on a project to produce a more literary tome.

An encounter at his latest book launch with the intriguing Anna Stilerova - a writer of racy erotica - stirs suppressed passions and throws his life into turmoil. And when his childhood friend Josephine begins a relationship with arch-critic David Lenihan, their friendship is threatened.

As salacious accounts of his newfound celebrity begin to appear in the tabloid press, his uneasy relationship with his curmudgeonly father deteriorates further. And at the promptings of his philandering brother Liam, he begins on his most daunting endeavour yet - the search for love.

As his persistence with his new literary direction leads to conflict with his publisher, and his love life - or lack of it - becomes more frustrating and complicated, where will it lead? All will be revealed as John documents it all in his never-to-be-seen diary...


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Valentina wrote 1794 days ago


Well, i've read up to chapter five and would love to read the rest of this so i'm going to keep it on my WL - after backing, of course - so hopefully, one day i'll have the time to return.
I love the subject matter, being about an author hehe, we can all relate to John somewhat!!
I feel really fond of john too, he's quirky and funny, a very enjoyable narrative voice. I like the way you introduce the parents, one supportive, one not, and Josephine - hmm, i feel there may be a romance between these two - even though it's anna that seems to be the love interest!
Writing was excellent, no hang-ups! Really great, i wish you the best of luck! x

riantorr wrote 850 days ago

Chaos is always good for fiction,

Rian Torr
New London Masquerade

meddina wrote 856 days ago

Great book that I found interesting from the first chapter onward. I like the characters andquickly fell into step with the pacing. It was your long pitch that drew me to the book originally, that makes me think it's well written as well.

Andrew Burans wrote 1546 days ago

A finely crafted and well written story. You do a great job in exploring John's inner angst and self doubts. Your use of imagery is excellent and your character development is solid. Backed with pleasure.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: THe Beginning

Pecos wrote 1550 days ago

Great idea for a novel with just the right pace. Happy to back!

Sheila Belshaw wrote 1557 days ago


I don't think I've ever read such a fascinating pitch. You couldn't possibly have taken this straight from life. Or could you? It almost had me green with envy . . .

So many truths in this, and not always with tongue in cheek.

Excellent writing. Great dialogue that jumps off the page, and prose that belongs in a best selling novel.

Backed with the greatest of pleasure.

Sheila Mary Taylor (Pinpoint)

A Knight wrote 1562 days ago
lisawb wrote 1573 days ago

Engaging start, it comes across as authentic and John is a great character. The end of chapter 3 shows he has empathy for his Mum and a dry sense of humour from the way he perceives the conversation with his Dad and brother. As the book is about an author we can all relate to him a little, and we want him to find a companion. A light read which is enjoyable.



Aimee Fry wrote 1574 days ago

I'm sure the majority of Writer/Readers will love your opening line. It hooks anyone interested in this business immediately. I also really liked the line ' The thought of being cooped up in a room full of simpering, sycophantic backslappers for a whole evening fills me with the kind of dread usually reseved for dental appointments.' - Very funny!

I suppose the only advice (in my opinion) would be to read through your chapters again and single out the words that are just not needed or read a bit awkwardly. For example in the above sentance, I personally would change 'whole' for 'entrire'. That would just flow better for me, but it's you're writing and you know it better than anyone.

I wish you the best of luck,
His Pride, Her Prejudice.

Famlavan wrote 1577 days ago

The Blooming of John Musgrove

Author’s neurotic, who said that?? When did they say it??? (Plus all the rest).
You have a great easy style to your writing, something you would recognise no matter what the storyline was.
You develop John so well it is so easy to engage with him. And Anna what can be said (that’s as far as I’ve got at present). This is a very enjoyable book; this will be my saviour if I get all gored out. I’ve a good feeling about this – good luck.

Mooderino wrote 1578 days ago

The writing is good and reads very well. I found some of the said bookisms (chortled, spluttered (twice), insisted etc.) a little distracting and some of the exposition stuck out (He's the foremost literary critic..., I know he's given you some negative reviews..., Since i am also published my Manley Spencer...). Although the dialogue is generally very good, those moments when characters explain things to each other felt unnatural.

The story of an author doing author-things didn't immediately capture my imagination but you kept things ticking along. His OCD (or just geneal uptightness, not sure which yet) is well conveyed and his emnity wth the dreaded critic nicely done.

best of luck with it. happy to back.


RichardBard wrote 1582 days ago

This is a very engaging read with likeable characters and a good pace. Smooth flowing and light-hearted. I liked it. Richard Bard, BRAINRUSH

Cully wrote 1591 days ago

Anytime anyone "chuckles" or "chortles" or anything like that it can become distracting a bit. Maybe a personal opinion, but I'd have little to critique in there but for that word.

But once you get into the dialogue, it's interesting. You're providing tension between the narrator and the critic, and it's good stuff.

I wouldn't make him "shudder." Shuddering is when someone gets the heebee jeebies (sic), is cold, etc.

Have Josephine do something other than "splutter."

I like that he's perhaps a little irrational when it comes to wine stains on his couch, but besides getting the point that he's a clean person and doesn't have many guests, not much happens in Chapter 2.

Don't have Liam "growl[ing]." Dogs growl--not people.

Don't have his mom yelling at him (!) to sit down. And don't have his dad "snap[ping]" that "it's too hot."

Again, not much happens in Chapter 3, even though things are happening.

You need to make everything in every chapter important--or at least make the reader feel they are important or add to the story in some way. Your dialogue is good, when you don't end it with "snorted" or "grunted."


SusieGulick wrote 1592 days ago

Thanks for your story, Robert. Hope you'll read mine, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not & my unedited version, Tell Me True Love Stories of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.
Please back my TWO books.Thanks, Susie :)

jammer wrote 1592 days ago

A very confident voice here, that informed my reading and I got to the end of the first chapter without any major criticisms to make - well done.

lionel25 wrote 1595 days ago

Robert, your first two chapters are professionally written. Nothing to nitpick there.

Happy to back your work.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Burgio wrote 1598 days ago

This is a clever idea for a story: a crime novelist keeping a daily journal. John is likable right from the start. Readers can quickly identify with his worries. The fact that his father and brother are not supportive add a lot to the story. Your writing style is good for this. I was convinced a well known author was keeping this journal. Backed. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

MKEthridge wrote 1620 days ago

I skipped to chapters 4-6 since I know many people start at the beginning. I love John's compulsions (having a few of my own)! Your writing is tight and and engaging. Happily backed!

Soap wrote 1621 days ago

I like your protagonist, and you have an easy style to read. Galloped through to Ch4 and will be back to read more.

Esrevinu wrote 1623 days ago

You have created an opening chapter that is both intriguing and cleaver
I am impressed with your level of writing; you certainly have a gift for descriptive writing
You are a great storyteller and I wish you all the best
The Esrevinu Chronicles/Secrets of the Elephant Rocks

Francesco wrote 1623 days ago

Intriguing premise carried on a silky smooth road of prose
A look at mine would be appreciated.
Frank, Sicilian Shadows

Joshua Lane wrote 1625 days ago

My enjoyment of a book like this hinges on whether or not I get along with the main character. I liked John Musgrave and was happy to accompany him on his amorous misadventures.

You observe and write well. The pacing is on the leisurely side, which may frustrate some readers. I can imagine more hard-nosed agents or publishers saying "Gimme more of that racy Anna dame, that's what I'm talkin' about". Personally, I prefer the gentle build-up.

I'm curious as to how the narrative develops from chapter 20 - by this stage, John has had his hot and steamy encounter with the sexually adventurous Anna, done the speed-dating thing and made a tit out himself in a couple of clubs - all related with wit and authenticity. But now I want to know where the careful build-up is leading - the causes have been laid out, but what are the effects? When the nice man from lulu finally drops the full MS through my letterbox, I will gladly invest the time to find out. Ultimately, that is proof of a job well done.

I hope the length of the remainder of this comment doesn't create an overly negative impression. I have a habit of making notes as I go along - this is just the nit-picky stuff, but maybe you'll find some of it useful.

"I took a sharp intake of breath" - "took" and "intake" don't sit well together. Maybe "I took a sharp breath"?
I could see a few heads turn in her direction when she entered.
"Thank God you're here," I said, relieved to see her. "I could do with a friend to talk to."
Maybe, to avoid repetition, you could have:
"I saw a few heads turn in her direction when she entered."
"Thank God you're here," I said. "I could do with a friend to talk to."
John's relief is implicit in this "Thank God".
Who is your intended audience - just Irish or international? In the latter case, "Pat Kenny" won' t ring any bells - maybe just "the host".
In a first person narrative, it's a challenge not to overuse "I". One opportunity to avoid it is in dialogue. For example:
"Can I get you a drink, sir?" the barman asked.
"Gin and tonic," I replied.
"Coming right up."
"In a tall glass," I added.
"Not a problem."

This could be
"Can I get you a drink?" the barman asked.
"Gin and tonic."
"Coming right up."
"In a tall glass."
"Not a problem."

The "I replied" and "I added" are redundant, since it's clear from the order who is speaking. Also, in this passage, I'm not convinced the barman would say "As you wish" - it sounds a bit antiquated.
"I suppose that's something to work on," I said, finished the rest…" - "finishing"?
"exhiliration" - exhilaration
"I felt slightly disheveled… otherwise felt" - repetition of "felt"
The Daily Herald describes Musgrave's "steamy night of passion". I know it's a tabloid and they make stuff up, but the staff only refer to John having a drink at the bar, following Anna up to her room and then being discovered in the room the next morning. Maybe it would be more convincing if one of the staff had heard them going at it.

"Still, he seemed… He sill felt obliged…" - repetition of "still"
"… that as soon as he's finished with one that it won't be long…" - maybe delete the second "that"
"This whole chatting up thing….and my whole line…" - repetition of "whole"
"…thrown in a quote from the schoolteacher who'd thrown…" - repetition of "thrown"
"…to even do any writing. And I couldn't even…" - repetition of "even"

"And I watched… thousand previous evenings" - in general, I don't mind long sentences, but this one was a bit of a mouthful - I felt I didn't have room to breathe as I was reading it.

The cheese gag in chapter 13 - if Elaine was made aware that there was a stink every time she entered the room (and presumably she can smell it herself), would she not quickly search her bag and find the culprit?

"To see something something so delicate that you've tended to flourish like that" - I presume this splits into "that you've tended to" followed by "flourish like that", but the reader could accidentally get caught in a "tended to flourish" trap - maybe a re-arrangement of the words, or you could just delete "to".
"as a movie extra on… big budget film production" - you could delete "movie", since the combination of "extra" and "film production" get the job done.
"… ranging in age from, I surmised, late twenties…" - it's apparent from the context that he's surmising, so you could just delete that clause, as it tends to interrupt the flow.
"handed out free tickets just… overall it just…Just as Liam returned…" - repetition of "just"
"…one woman had even read… she even got me…" - repetition of "even"
"Liam smirked to himself, bemused…" - would he not be more "amused" than "bemused"?
"… I was even beginning to enjoy myself… I could even envisage…" - repetition of "even"
"slammed us down do hard…" - so
"I overcame my misgivings and natural hesitation…" - you could almost delete this start to the sentence. This feels like a spur of the moment decision for John, where his desire for Anna trumps his misgivings about drugs - a sort of an "ah fleck it" moment. If you just said "Before I could change my mind…", you might capture this spontaneity better.
"among the throbbing masses the glistening flesh" - either "and glistening" or "of glistening"?
"I drank thirstily from it" - John has already said that he was "parched", so "thirstily" doesn't really impart any new information.
"Instinctively I pulled the duvet protectively…" - I'm not one of the adverb police, but maybe the act of pulling the duvet around his chest implies the "protectively", and you could delete it.
"After a while, I noticed" - there's a rogue line break after the comma when viewed on autonomy.
"dimly lit by the light" - "lit" implies a light source, so "light" is kind of redundant.
"Thin slits of blue light…, flickering like the light… strobe lights" - including my previous point, that's a lot of repetition of "light" in one paragraph.
"She was about average height…" - sometimes, when you are introducing incidental characters, you tend to list off attributes in quick succession, which can interrupt the flow, as I feel it does in this case. I wonder if the full description is necessary? Are there a couple of key characteristics that John could observe in passing, rather than in such an analytical fashion?
"worshipping to" - not sure if "to" can be used here - maybe just delete it?

writingwildly wrote 1627 days ago

Well done. A good read.
Under the Same Sky

Rosali Webb wrote 1629 days ago

Read chapters 1, 2, and 7 and 8 where John has just woken up alone in the hotel room after having the one night stand with Anna. Will be interesting to see how he changes after the 'light' has been switched on as he says. Very easy style of writing, pleasure to read. Backed. Rosali
Fieldtrip to Mars

gillyflower wrote 1631 days ago

You have a fascinating pitch, which describes a book I very much wanted to read. Writer, Dublin, critics, change to literary style, funny, all these things ticked the boxes for me. I found the book just as excellent as I'd hoped. John is a sweet, likable character whom we relate to straightaway. He has his little quirks - the episode of Josephine's dripping wine glass was very funny - but we know he's going to develop and even change. The other characters, Josephine, Anna, David Lenihan, and the rest, are beautifully drawn, real, individual and a pleasure to read about. Your setting in Dublin is a great bonus. You manage to bring it to life as I know it, without the Roddy Doyle type characters who swear every other word, or probably a higher proportion; which most real people don't do, actually, even in Dublin! I found your writing style very enjoyable, witty, easy to read, short sentences and chapters. This is the sort of book I would read normally, so I'm probably prejudiced, but I think it's a great book which deserves to be published and to do well. Backed.
Gerry McCullough,
Belfast Girls.

Lj Trafford wrote 1631 days ago

This reads very nicely. I whipped through the first five chapters and dipped into chapter 13 (which made me go ahhhhh, poor John).
John is a man we can sympathise with, slightly shy, disliking himself and his job. Not a loser (for he is a successful writer) but not quite in with life. I chortled at his speech at the Book Launch, and sympathised with him a great deal. How excruciating such events can be.
Looking forward to reading some more to find out how Anna shakes him up!

DDickson wrote 1632 days ago

Just so that you know, I am trying out a new way of commenting. Instead of reading through and then commenting at the end I am making notes as I go along just as if I was looking at a book in a shop or a library. I only ever comment as a reader anyway, and this seems to be working quite well and apart from anything else, it is fun. Hope you are happy with that.

Good start, I want to see how he gets on with the Diary and I want to see what happens at the launch – hooked.

Good accomplished writing style so now sit back and enjoy the story. Hmm strange reaction to the wine spillage – the plot is thickening nicely. Eeeurgh mouldy corduroy and after shave (I’m just saying). Aha now gone back to check the iron he’s a compulsive thingy isn’t he! Liking the way that we are finding out these little things without having it pushed in our faces, loves his mum, finds his dad irritating but still cares, I detect a bit of envy and frustration in regard to his brother and this has all been cleverly woven into the story – Excellent writing.

Ooh he is stalled of it all isn’t he – feeling really sorry for him now.

Here enters sexy, mysterious woman - more cornflour in the gravy.

Stopped reading at the end of chapter 4 but only because the potatoes are boiling. I really enjoyed this and would buy it.

Backed – Diane

SRFire wrote 1633 days ago

This is a pleasure, and I think every authonomist could do with reading chapter 1 - it should be compulsory. All the best, Sana

Paige Pendleton wrote 1633 days ago

A delightful read. Well written, smooth flow. I like the characters, scenario, format, and lighthearted quirk. Backed.

C.C.McKinnon wrote 1633 days ago

Hi, I felt a connection with the MC, perhaps because I am a neurotic writer. This is why it works. You capture the emotions very well in an easy pace.

Strayer wrote 1635 days ago

What happened to John could happen to almost anyone. So easy to fall prey to a attractive person. I like this book and I enjoyed reading all that you uploaded. Thanks for writing it.

shersheri wrote 1642 days ago

I really the all 20 chapters. Your writing is polished and comfortable. My only criticism would be to flesh out the acrimony between John and his father. The father's level of anger seemed disproportionate to having a son who is a writer. What did the father want for his sons? What would have made him proud?

Dedalus wrote 1644 days ago

I read the four revised chapters. I didn't notice anything new in them or at least not any new passages in them. However I did find it flowed a lot easier. The only amendment I can suggest is that when you first introduce Josephine at the very start of chapter 2(?) don't include her surname because it does seem like she isn't someone close to John when he mentally refers to her that formally.

Other than that I can't believe I neglected to comment on how superb Anna's dialogue is. When I read it I actually here an Eastern European accent.

I had this feeling the first time I read it and it is even stronger now: that John Musgrave is almost the same person as Mark from the Peep Show. Thats not a bad thing, just an observation I've made subjective to myself. It makes me laugh though.


lynn clayton wrote 1644 days ago

Robert, laughed over that 'pretty dull read'. You get straight down to this and it reads easily. Sometimes a bit too true for comfort, but deceptively slick and with a very interesting character in John. Shelved. Lynn

Dedalus wrote 1651 days ago


I read all 20 chapters from start to finish. I’d just like to make it clear that everything I’m saying is opinion. I’d also like to remind you that I am a lot younger than everyone else and haven’t got the valuable years of experience. The start of the story did remind me of Sartre’s Nausea, but that did wear off by chapter 4.

I’ll start with the pro’s first:

It was well written with a nice quick pace. I remained interested in it throughout without skipping chunks of text or becoming bored. You had a strong protagonist and the other characters were interesting. It was very humorous in parts, at one stage making me laugh out loud. I was also completely unaware of what would happen next and that was a very appealing aspect. The way the story unfolded was logical and engaging. The dialogue was very realistic and entertaining.

Josephine and Anna were excellent, realistic characters as was the protagonist.

The standard of writing throughout was high and cohesive.

I also did the get the slow metamorphosis of the protagonist from being a total recluse to engaging in social activities a little more readily due to Anna.

The cons:

My chief problem was with the character of Liam. He reminded me of Sickboy in Welsh’s Trainspotting – prolific with every woman – particularly when Liam managed to pull the bride-to-be. That was annoying. This is a personal thing, but it is the part I really don’t like.

I don’t feel that you gave an initial introduction of Anna that displayed how good looking she is and the lust John must feel for her.

Running into Anna in the middle of London was implausible. I admit I am a slave to realism.

You have a repetition of the word gulp, which later turns to repetitions of slurp. The same also goes for nonchalant.

You said twice (once in Ch. 5) that London is cosmopolitan, surely you mean metropolitan?

The father’s anger seemed unfounded when he turned purple all of a sudden. Perhaps more of a description there would suffice.

I do think that you need another element to make it a little more exciting. Perhaps a confident alter ego of John that is displayed in the adventures of his main character of his novel?

In short, I enjoyed it and found it to be a pleasantly quick read and would like to read more when you upload it.

David Fearnhead wrote 1652 days ago

I like the premise of a novel about a writer. I know it's not the first time it's been done but it's a technique that when does well adds that extra edge. I also think you make good use of the diary format. It helps keep pace with the novel and feel almost as though we are eavesdropping on the life of John. His neuroticism lends itself to the diary as we can believe he is actually the sort of man to keep a diary. Nicely penned.
Bailey of the Saints

storylover wrote 1666 days ago

Hi, this moves at a good speed and kept me interested at each section. Good honest writing and would enjoy reading more of your work. Best of luck,

chris burton wrote 1681 days ago

Great crime writing, which flows very well and keeps the reader hooked. Your MC is engaging, your dialogue is excellent and teh relationship spin keeps the plot moving. Backed

Niobrara Kardnova wrote 1682 days ago

Well, you grabbed me with your short pitch--says it all. This is a very funny and sometimes sexy read. It kept me turning the pages. I love the Anna/John/Lenihan/Josephine connections, and also the fact that John likes to think he's in control of his life, when in reality he's being led everywhere by stronger personalities. This is a humorous strategy I employ in my own book, although my MC is a well-adjusted incompetent as opposed to John's being an effective neurotic. Anyway, I was very impressed withThe Blooming of John Musgrave (A clever title as well). Backed.
Niobrara Kardnova (The Trouble with Wives)

felicity potbottle wrote 1682 days ago

great stuff, a neurotic writer, there's a few of those around here...

I'm backing.

klouholmes wrote 1686 days ago

Hi Robert, John is an amusing character and from his admission "what do I know about romance and relationships?" It looks as if he has to write his diary in fiction form. Even though it might be real that he wants to forget his book and his father doesn't want to talk about it, I wanted to know more about the content before Chapter 3. Then at the launch, the story really took off and became rollicking with Anna and her TV appearance. John's deadpan attitude and his worrying about small things, the iron that could start a fire, make him quirky. I can't fathom what will happen to him with Anna! Shelved - Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

John Brassey wrote 1688 days ago

This is my kind of book. I enjoy reading about realtionships and your anal John Musgrove is a great character who reminds me of Jack Nicholson's Melvin Udall in "As Good As It Gets". I loved your attention to details with touches like his worry about the wine drop.
Your wonderfully believable description of the book launch will be enough to put plenty of authonomy members off the idea of becoming published.
When Anna turns up on TV and implies a possible interest in John, the story starts to take off and I can see some enjoyable twists and turns ahead. My money is on a happy ending with Josephine (at least that's the way I would have gone).
Good luck.
I'm happy to back you.


Jupiter Echoes wrote 1691 days ago

This book could be about me - neurotic writer
my wife... beguiling tempress from hades itself.

Anway, very good. WRiting serves to draw the reader in with well paced prose, intelligent characterisaitons and descriptions that are evocative.


Hutch wrote 1697 days ago

Hi Robert. I like the contrast between John's mundane real life and the fictional world of his novels. What made you go for the Dublin setting? Chaps 1 & 2 didn't feel particularly Irish, and I wondered if it might be a good idea to highlight the setting a bit more. In this opening section it feels like it could be set in Anytown. There was an article by Irish crime writer Declan Burke (any relation?) in the Sunday Times Culture section this week (only in the Irish edition) about how tough it is to scrape a living even as a successful genre novelist in Ireland - he's copied it on his blog, if you're interested. All the best, Heather. Btw, I enjoyed your little run-in with HallyAlly on the forum ;-)

John Harold McCoy wrote 1697 days ago

Hi Robert.. Just stumbled across your book. Thought I'd give it a read.
Excellent pitch. Good job on that. In my opinion, this is a well written work. The beginning is very good and the story develops well. You treat your characters nicely. Their feelings and thought are well defined and I think readers can identify and flow with them. All in all, from what I've read, I think this will be a fine story. On my shelf. The best of luck with this. I believe it will do well here.

John Harold McCoy - Bramwell Valley

Jared wrote 1703 days ago

I write crime fiction so the opening sentence of chapter 1 was guaranteed to get my attention. Excellent pitches that work very well. You have a delightful facilty with dialogue, so realistic and unforced.
The opening chapter introduces the reader to the MC, and works well enough, but the story, this is a romance after all, only kicks in at chapter 4. I'd suggest bringing forward the romance element to earlier in the story; even though the early chapters are short, they still manage to take away the reader's attention from the development of the important plot elements.
Just my first impression, speaking purely as a reader, and please discount as you please. When the pace picks up this works very well. You're a talented writer and, as already noted, your writing of dialogue is exceptional. There's much to admire here.

John Booth wrote 1704 days ago

Hi Robert,
You are a good writer - shelved.

These are just my opinions, but I have some problems with your narrative arc, that is, nothing much happens until #4. I suggest removing chapters 2 and 3. That would tighten the story. Drop the info from 2 and 3 into 1, 4 and later. John is not particularly sympathetic and I would look to introduce something to make the reader empathise with him.

Good luck with this

John Booth (Shaddowdon)

Melcom wrote 1705 days ago

Exceptional writing, can't wait to read more.

Impeding Justice

Paul Freeman wrote 1708 days ago

Hi Robert, I flew through the first four chapters of your book, I really enjoyed your style, it flows very naturally. I suppose everybody here would like to be able to identify with John Musgrave, alas most of us can only say, if only. He's an interesting character, a moany ol' shite some might say, but his fears and frustrations are very real for a lot of people in many different walks of life.
Besides, having met his dad, who would blame him.

sperber1 wrote 1709 days ago

I am John Musgrave...or I wish I was. Most of us on authonomy would love to have his problems, as long as we had his success! I usually read two chapters, but I was so hooked on this terrific character study (and, of course, identified with it) that I went all the way through chapter 4 -- I had to meet this sexy woman who was going to upturn his life.

The two great things (among others) you have going for you in this book are my two favorite things in a novel: character and dialogue. It is my belief that without them, no matter your plot, theme, etc., you have nothing. But you have a lot here. John may not know it, but he is rapidly becoming a curmudgeon like his dead, plus his life is, at the core, dead. He needs Anna to shake him up. Your dialogue is snappy, lively, full of good reparte, and also shows character, relationships, and forwards the narrative.

Just well done all around. I can see this doing very well once it is published. Shelved.

Helena wrote 1714 days ago

Hi Robert I like your character John, he seems to be a bit of a Victor Meldrew. I have to say I don't sympatise with him over the successful writer thing and I would be running open armed to a launch of my book anywhere! Its a nice read, his character seems to be one of those you'd like to hate but can't bring yourself too. Its also well written, the dialogue between John and Josephine is very natural and I like how she takes the piss out of his crankiness also the last few lines of chapter two are brilliant where he spots the drip of wine and runs with a coaster! Enjoyable read, its on my shelf. Helena (A Load of Rubbish)