PLANNING on writing one?

Is there a NOVEL OUT THERE that is the Next 'Da Vinci Code'? Well, there was the LAST DA VINCI code. Dan Brown wrote ANGELS AND DEMONS which is just as good as Da Vinci. Be certain of this, any hit book creates a plethora of similars, so there are tons of new SPIRITUAL MYSTERIES out there right now as Publishers are jumping on the religious mystery bandwagon now. Read this news story:

NEW YORK (AP) -- In the early months of 2006, expect a few novels with some very familiar story lines.
"Labyrinth," by Kate Mosse, features a rival sect to the Catholic church and a search for the Holy Grail.

 In "The Templar Legacy," a thriller by Steve Berry, a former government agent attempts to unravel a mystery about an order of knights whose power rivaled the Pope's. Matilde Asensi's "The Last Cato" features the head of the Vatican's secret archive and his efforts to solve a murder with clues dating back to biblical times.

"It's hard not to have 'The Da Vinci Code' on our minds, as it has become the cultural phenomenon of our time," says Rene Alegria, publisher of Rayo, a Hispanic imprint of Harper Collins that is releasing the English translation of "The Last Cato."

Nearly three years after it was first published, "The Da Vinci Code" has more than 25 million copies in print worldwide, inspired dozens of parodies and critiques and increased interest in religious thrillers, art history, Gnostic texts and speculations about the life of Jesus (and his romance with Mary Magdalene and the possibility of issue)

With "The Da Vinci Code" movie, starring Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon, popular with audiences and ANGELS AND DEMONS in pre-production right now, editors, publishers and booksellers expect yet another surge for the Dan Brown novel and for books like it. (By the way, Ronnie Howard, producer of DVC approached the POPE about shoting ANGELS in the Vatican and got turned down. I guess his Holiness didn't like the fact that the VILLAINS in both novels are CHURCH functionaries! I can see the N.Y. Post Headline now. "POPE SAYS NOPE TO OPE!"  (Opie was Ron Howard's character in a sitcom.)

"SPIRITUAL is the hottest trend out there," says Barnes & Noble fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley. "I think a large part of the 'Da Vinci Code' audience will go for these new books."

Publishers are counting on big sales. Steve Berry, whose Web site includes a blurb from Brown ("writes with the self-assured style of a veteran") is getting a 200,000 print run for his new book. "Labyrinth," already a best seller in Europe, will get a first printing of 100,000. "The Last Cato," a huge success when published in Spain, will also have a 100,000 printing. And his "THE CHARLEMAGNE PURSUIT" coming out DEC 08 is probably about the GENE that all powerful leaders have, not spiritual A cloning mystery!

Alegria and other publishers acknowledge that "The Da Vinci Code" has had an impact on the marketplace, but insist that their books hold up on their own.

'Suppers' and 'Templars' Javier Sierra's "Secret Supper," coming out from Atria with a first printing of 350,000, "combines mystery, intrigue and death in a riveting thriller that reveals the unknown secrets behind Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper,' " according to a statement on Sierra's Web site.

Still, we are told, "You have never read a book like this before."

"While the best-selling novel 'The Da Vinci Code' describes in only three pages the mysteries of 'The Last Supper,' Sierra's book will give you an inside picture of one of the greatest geniuses of all times."

Dutton Books is releasing "The Last Templar," written by Raymond Khoury and centering on a theft during a "Treasures of the Vatican" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with one stolen piece dating back to the Crusades. Dutton, a division of Penguin Group USA, is giving the book a "substantial first printing," according to senior editor Mitch Hoffman.

Hoffman says he has received more proposals invoking "The Da Vinci Code" -- averaging at least one a week -- than the total number of books he releases in a given year. But "The Last Templar" stood out. He needed just a weekend to finish the novel, and, with a subtle wink, convinced his colleagues that the book was worth publishing.

"I didn't have to mention 'The Da Vinci Code,"' he says. "I just said that 'we want people to know that if what they're looking for is a big, very fun, very smart thriller with these great historical/religious elements ...' "

Rene Alegria of Rayo notes that "The Last Cato" and other upcoming releases may capitalize on "The Da Vinci Code" but were actually conceived earlier. Dutton's Mitch Hoffman agrees that thrillers about art and secret codes were around well before Brown's book and says "The Da Vinci Code" has not invented a new kind of book, but defined a new market.

"It's like legal thrillers after John Grisham and Scott Turow," he says. "There were always books with lawyers running around before it solidified into a category, when all manners of books were called 'legal thrillers.' I do feel we may be seeing a similar thing in the wake of 'The Da Vinci Code.' "

But Mark Tavani, an editor at Ballantine Books, which will publish Steve Berry's novel, thinks the genre will soon peak. He believes that booksellers will eventually become more selective and that comparing something to "The Da Vinci Code" won't be enough.

"Only the ones that are great will continue to sell," he says. "But people will still be interested in fact-filled fiction. I think people want to learn things from their fiction books and will continue to look for that. So the next big thing in fiction will again be fact based, but different from 'The Da Vinci Code.' "


ANITA's NOTE FOR WRITERS: Read James Michener's THE NOVEL, at for a buck, a book that teaches you HOW to write a best seller, yourself.

START READING THE BEST NOVELS! GO online, google up a list of l00 best novels by googling terms like 100 best novels  And start reading! Start with Stieg Larsson's Tattoo,Hornet's nest and the third one.

I feel that DAN BROWN gave us a well researched fruitcake, salted with a strong male hero, filed with lucious, evocative mind pictures of superb, marble statues and piquant facts about the lives of the men who sculpted them. These men apparently had secret, political activism against the oligarchs who hired them!

The basic form of DA VINCI was formulaic. A male expert as hero, a horrific crime/murder setting the stage for a mystery to be solved, a timeline, a pulsing timeline, a clock beating down to zero, great danger, much at stake, a beautiful sweet girl who is endangered, a manly man who gets clobbered, dropped out of airplanes into water from great heights and other horrors, just as in a Mickey Spillaine crime thriller. However, the book is set in a university brain level, cultural millieu. That is the trend. More brain satisfying. The area could be politics, military, the art world, Wall Street/ economic or science (Crichton) not just religion and museum statuary!

I was scanning an oldie but a goldie, GUY ENDORE's novel, KING OF PARIS about the life of Alexandre Dumas, pere et fils, a bio but a novel too -- where DUMAS is given a list of best novels of that period, Goethe and others. Invahoe by Sir Walter Scott. Someone familiar with the author's life and rivalry with his own son, created a riff off the facts, one that really fascinates!  BUY IT USED at abebooks for a buck. Just follow MY SECRET METHOD FOR BUYING BOOKS used online for bottom dollar.

One can GOOGLE up many lists, also the tricks of writing novels. Yes, online, learn "NOVEL WRITING" and immerse yourself in the reading that it takes. Michener sez "MIDDLEMARCH by George Elliot best novel of all time, folllowed by Joseph Conrad a POLE who could barely write in ENGLISH but did the world's best novel, HEART OF DARKNESS, (became Apocalypse Now) and there are other novelists that are extolled, JANE AUSTEN's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. The narrative, its viewpoint, intelligence, is said to be very important.

Then there are CHILDREN's books. Harry Potter's success may be due to the fact that:
1) It targeted an age group that can read, wants to read, yet has little out there TO read.
2.) glommed in on most far out, exotic, edgey subject, MAGIC.
3.) Wrote it with humor, horror and suspense in the mix.
4.) Her Potter Novels have pace. No lagging ever.
5.) Dickensian formula, very likeable hero, orphan, really rotten, loathesome, terrible and cruel guardian family.
6.) The author never told you something was happening, she always SHOWED YOU with clear visuals. In first scene, first book, we see this idiotic family sort of noticing the signs that witchcraft was coming their way but ignoring the signs, (telling in terms of character, they're obviously jerks,) but WE SEE, are SHOWN, a cat with a map on their corner, owls flying around their house in the daytime. That is a funny visual. CLARITY is lacking in most adult novels. But author implies with that that something odd is coming! Read Sorcerer's Stone, first few pages to see why she ROWLING is richer than the Queen.

I happen to like  HERMIT books, like Annie Dillard wrote. A woman alone in nature. Or a man.  Often they have a cabin or farm and alternately a dog or a cat. These non-fiction prose pieces sell very well in spite of being plotless. They are paens to nature or God. And often they win national awards. So those are easy to do. Move to a cabin in the woods with no rent at all and you have time to knock out a book about it. 

Next comes the Radical or Humanitarian novel. These began to appear in the thirties, Steinbeck, James T. Farrell were the kings of  the PROGRESSIVE NOVEL movement. Many of the authors were card carrying members of the NYC socialist scene. There was reason to join. Back then, the Oligarchs had crashed the system in the Great Depression, European Fascism was being noisy, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy. Expansionistic Japan was a blip on the horizon. American liberals were joining the Spanish underground to fight Franco in the Civil War. Many of the same forces we have today.

But ignore that I even said that for the MYSTERY and THRILLER are the two top best sellers in fiction.

Read the NOVEL WRITING training site: and if you google word steampunk you'll find many classrooms and blogs.