Sunday, June 15, 2014

Review: Apollo's Curse by Brad Vance

Blurb from Amazon: All Dane Gale ever wanted was to be a successful writer. Then he and his friends Rose and Sherry decide to write romances, and join forces to become "Pamela Clarice," self-published novelist. When they look for a cover model for their first book, Dane sees the photos that will change his life.

Dane soon finds himself obsessed with Paul Musegetes, a popular but secretive cover model. Then he meets Paul at the Romance Writers' Ball on the Summer Solstice, and they connect for one night of passion.

After that night, Dane's a writing machine, and every story he touches turns to gold. But he can't write anything but romances - one after another after another...

But this Midas touch has a heavy price. After the next Summer Solstice, he'll never write again. Nothing. Not even a grocery list. That gives him no choice but to find Paul, and break the curse. But to do that, he'll have to track down Paul's equally mysterious photographer, Jackson da Vinci...

The premise of Apollo’s Curse is that a would be writer has a chance encounter with a cover model which gives him the uncanny ability to write commercially successful m/f romance under a pen name. After attending a RomCon and looking at the previous two years’ writing starts, he figures out the curse and goes on a quest to find the model in hopes of breaking the curse.

Review: The book is broken up into sections. The first section is about Dane struggling as a writer. Then he meets Paul, the cover model, and Dane’s phenomenal success. Next comes his trip to Italy in search of the model, which then takes him to Greece. Unfortunately, the story didn’t catch my attention until about thirty percent through. Then, just as quickly as it caught my attention, it was lost again. Finally, once Dane decides to go to Italy in search of his muse, the story captivated me and held my interest through the end. Although it does have a somewhat HEA ending, the ending scene is a bit awkward.

On journey to Greece, it was nice to Dane gain more fame and respect as a story-teller than he did as a romance novelist. Does Dane ever find his muse and break his curse before the next summer solstice? If you enjoy lighthearted stories without much on-page sex, you might enjoy reading just to find out if Dane breaks the curse.

For Writers: I think aspiring writers looking to publish their first works might enjoy the lessons offered in this novel. The first part of the book reads a lot like the business books of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Like Who Moved My Cheese or Gung Ho!. Basically, writing and marketing lessons built into a fiction story. There are some awesome marketing tips very early in the book when Dane meets with his book club of aspiring romance writers for the first time. There is also plenty of angst as Dane goes through his very creative, prolific period then realizes his “curse” is coming to an end. I think most all writers can relate to that at some point in their careers.

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