Wednesday, 16 October 2013


Many and sincere thanks to those of you who have provided feedback and reviews on Shameless Ambition (available as an e-book from SteameReads and Amazon). One or two have pointed out that it breaks the rules of romantic fiction, and even the rules of not-very-romantic fiction. There is a distinct shortage of adjectives, adverbs, and heaving bosoms. Some readers found it difficult to follow, citing too many characters. Here is an extract from an actual review on Goodreads:

i honestly didn't like this book it was all over the place following a bunch of people that i actually got lost reading this book.
I have not tampered with the reviewer's syntax or punctuation, but I take the point. Ideally, romance involves two main characters, possibly a third to muddy the waters. The dashingly attractive alpha male hero is high status and probably a doctor. The self-deprecating and hopelessly lost but gorgeous nurse is our heroine. Who shall we have playing Muddy Waters? A faceless but ruthless hospital bureaucrat? Or an ex who is stalking gorgeous nurse?

In Shameless Ambition the alpha male doctor is a female business executive and the nurse is me, barrister Robert Fanshaw. In the book I am not in  uniform, and gorgeous would not be the right word, although Caroline likes it when I wear a wig and gown. Since we are already married, there is no explosive moment when A sweeps B off his or her feet, though I did find some relief in the fact that at the end of the book we were still together.

In this, the first of the Shameless series, it is the Muddy Waters character that leads to confusion for those who read books mainly while they are driving to work and so get lost. For my Muddy Waters is not one character, but many; a collection of bankers, politicians, and business people who are desperately trying to save the Eurozone from financial ruin. I accept the criticism of too many characters, but in my defence I have to say it really was a confusing time. Thank goodness we don't have to worry about major nations defaulting on their debts any more. (NB:  USA, USA !! Please note the use of irony. I shouldn't have to point it out, but some of the reviews from across the water suggest I do.)

I have undertaken a major cull of characters in the forthcoming Shameless Exposure to make it easier for people to read and operate machinery at the same time. Muddy Waters is played more or less by one person, Regina Heart. I am intending to signpost the plot with the use of BLOCK CAPITALS, bold type, and underlining at crucial points. I will also help readers get to know the characters (some of whom I can still count as friends) over the next few weeks by providing pen portraits, actual photographs, and contributions from said characters about their part in the book.

I will begin next week with Xena Bardot, who appears as Miss August in a very artistic charity calendar.

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Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.