Dear Ebony Olson,
when I first opened Black Mark's Secrets and read the beginning, I groaned, and not with pleasure. Have a look:
"Don't cause problems," the man grumbled to the woman. They stood at the gate to the apartment building; it buzzed and he pushed the railings open for her. They were dressed well, oozing wealth.
"I'm just saying, it'd be nice to mix things up, add a bit more variety," the leggy blonde reasoned.
The man held the gate for me as I walked through. "Thank you," I murmured, not wanting to interrupt them.
Awful. Cheesy. Boring. What kind of a beginning is that? I spent the next two pages trying to figure out who is who. You throw out name after name, without any labels. I regretted having asked for an advanced review copy of this book. Obligation only made me keep reading.
And then it got better. On the fourth page, characters took shape, the story became interesting. Around the middle, to my great surprise, it turned into an enjoyable read. There is a lot of sex - this is an erotic novel, after all - but there is also a plot, and a good one. Of course we get some of the chlichés of the erotica genre:
- Mr. Testo Sterone: Darius Rafal.
- Improbable anatomy: Mora calls it "the monster".
- The incredibly long kiss: from the elevator into the apartment and all the way to the bed.
- The big "loved you all along".
We also get some surprises in this novel. I'm curious, Mrs. Olson: What would happen if you set your mind to writing, say, a fantasy epic?
Black Mark's Secrets isn't published yet. If you still have time to edit, I suggest the following:
- Change the beginning.
- At the christmas dinner scene, make it clear who is who. Mora calls her father sometimes "Dad" and sometimes "Marshall" and it took me long to notice they were the same person.
- Speech tags. "The man grumbled", "the woman reasoned", "I clarified", etc. They get in the way. Replace them all with "said".
Best wishes for your future writing