Saturday, 3 December 2016


to Discovering Diamonds! 
We will be going LIVE on January 1st 2017!

This is a new (and hopefully exciting!) review blog for historical fiction. We make no distinction between indie, self-published, or mainstream: a good book is a good book - however it is produced and published.

We already have a selection of books reviewed and waiting to 'go live' on this page: our intention is to publish a new review every day - so from January 1st I hope that Discovering Diamonds will attract good authors, eager readers, and many enthusiastic visitors!

Every book reviewed will receive one of our Discovered Diamond logos for the author to use as they wish:
For A Highly Recommended Read
For A Recommended Read
with an additional special  logo for the book/books chosen as Book of the Month and Year

click here for more information
click here for more information
We will be updating a section where you can find books by author:
click here
and by sub-genre/subject (we will consider any genre of historical fiction for review - from mystery and romance to alternative and fantasy. However, at least 75% of the novel must be set pre-1950
click here
Our monthly Guest spot will feature an article about a specific author or sub-genre:
click here
and there are a few tips for dos and don'ts for new and novice authors, aimed especially at writers thinking of going indie or self-published:
more information here
so: find out more about who 'we' are 

click here
and if you would like to submit a novel for us to consider for review you will find details
or contact me, Helen Hollick:
email Helen
Please take note: we do not accept all submissions nor do we review all books we receive - we SELECT the ones we want to read. 
We accept e-editions only, unless by special arrangement.
The Discovering Diamonds Review Team look forward to welcoming you back on January 1st and to discovering some wonderful diamonds to read!

For now - Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Graphics designed by:

return to BOOKSHELF (Home Page) then scroll down for more items of interest

Friday, 2 December 2016

DISCOVERING The DIAMOND by Helen Hollick with Jo Field

Amazon Universal Link £1.99 / £7.99

Non-fiction / writing tips

This little volume doesn't cost much and won't take long to read (I finished it on a long car journey) but that small investment is very worth while. It should be compulsory reading for every aspiring writer. Like the diamond in its title, it's compact but valuable, drawing on many years' first-hand experience before the empty page. Although Helen Hollick is now a successful and popular novelist, she's not too proud to share mistakes that she's made in the past and generously allows us to learn from them - and from her triumphs too.
Although primarily aimed at novelists, this book contains many pointers relevant to non-fiction writers. All the advice is imparted in a friendly, supportive manner that make it very easy to access and absorb. Even the most defensive authors who bridle at the thought of anyone editing their work will be gently persuaded to hone their work until it shines.
I love the title and its implication that underneath your rough rock of a book there is a diamond lurking, if only you are prepared to spend long enough polishing it. Discovering the Diamond will soon become dog-eared on many an apprentice writer's shelf through constant reference. It is in itself a gem, and a polished one at that.
Debbie Young

`Discovering the Diamond' is an excellent, easy to read, well-structured guide, which allows for the novice writer to hone the base material of their manuscript into a polished gem which will knock the publishers' eyes out (hopefully).
In this short book, multi-published author, Helen Hollick pulls no punches in stating that becoming a published author, either at the hands of a reputable publishing house, or through assisted publication outlets, or by pure self-publishing, is not an easy task. Even the perfect manuscript is not guaranteed a place on the bookshelf.
What this informative guide does is to lay down the ground rules which, if followed, will place the novice writers' work in a competitive place, towards the head of the queue for assessment.
One must remember that literary agents and publishing house editors are human beings, and the amount of time they can allocate to each manuscript submission is limited. Unlike the budding author (and published authors too), they cannot dwell for hours over a couple of pages, tweaking a word or phrase here or there, trying to polish the work to perfection. If you are lucky, they will read the first paragraph or perhaps a page of a submission, before either accepting it for further reading, casting it to the slush pile, or most likely, dropping it into the reject basket.
`Discovering the Diamond' lifts the lid on the transgressions of all authors - both published and novice. For example, too much tedium will bore a reader to death, and obvious errors in spelling, tense and syntax, along with obvious anachronisms, provide an instant no-go.
Hollick strongly advises writers to treat their work to the services of a professional editor and not to rely on a family member who will say he/she loves it despite all its errors.
Hollick also advises honesty in the way new writers look at both their own and other people's work. And to illustrate each new section, she provides examples using scenes from her own books. My only comment here is that I found some of the passages a little over-long, and would have preferred more succinct examples.
Then there is discussion on layout and cover design, the use of contractions, and more, plus a timely warning about the pitfalls confronting new writers including those companies who bubble with enthusiasm to publish your first book - at a cost!
Personally, as a published author both in mainstream and self-published outlets, I could relate to all that is contained in `Discovering the Diamond'. And though the information was not new to me, reading it was a timely reminder of the grammatical traps I can, and have fallen into, through complacency, when writing my novels.
I would recommend `Discovering the Diamond' to any budding author seeking publication. Some real gems of writing wisdom are contained within its pages.
Margaret Muir

... Next Review: will be posted 1st January 2017 >