Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Age is just a number - isn't it?

Next weekend, I reach one of my Big 0 birthdays – and it’s not one I really want to celebrate. It’s not particularly bothered me in the past when the first number of my age changed. I simply thought of it as entering a new decade of my life. But this one seems like a big jump. Surely I can’t be that old?

The only consolation seems to be that today’s generations are becoming younger. In the past, you were ‘old’ when you got to your late fifties/early sixties. I remember my great-aunt, who was in her sixties when I was a child. She wore black, and always had a shawl around her shoulders. She was very old to me. It seemed people in their sixties were expected to dress and act ‘old’ at that time.

Jump forward 20 or 30 years. My parents, in their sixties and seventies, appeared much older than I feel now. They didn’t wear jeans or tee-shirts – and, back in the 1980s, switching on the TV was probably the only technology they dealt with. They pottered around in the garden, did the crossword in the paper, had naps in the afternoon, and never went out anywhere in the evenings.

The modern world has changed. I know an eighty-plus year old who went on a trek and sail up the Amazon, I know a ninety-plus year old who is still as busy as she was in her forties, and I know a lady who will be 105 next month and who, despite increasing body frailty, still has a mind and memory as sharp as a knife.

At least the film industry, and TV too, are recognising that older women can play strong roles, and not just doddery old grandmothers. Think of the women in ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ – did you get to see that in America? Judi Dench, nearly 80 now; Penelope Wilton and Celia Imrie in their sixties, and my favourite, Maggie Smith, also almost 80.

Yes, Maggie Smith did play a grandmother in Downton Abbey – but far from doddery! She stole every scene she was in. Forty-plus years ago, she won an Oscar in ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ playing a woman who declared ‘I am truly in my prime’. She could still say that now, and I think I’m going to emulate her.

Every age we reach can be considered our ‘prime’ of life. In fact, just to prove it, this week I’ve accepted a new role – that of editor for the Publishing by Rebecca Vickery company. A new decade for me and a new challenge. Bring it on!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Technology For Inspiration

When do you get inspired?

I find I get inspired at the most inconvenient of times, like in the shower or in the car or while walking the dog. During those times, my mind is free to wander, and when I’m not stressing over what I have to accomplish that day, or an upcoming project, or trying to remember a grocery list, plot elements pop into my head.

I have an iPhone, so while walking one day, I tried dictating my ideas into the phone using the built-in microphone. Unfortunately, it only recorded the last three words I spoke, and since I don’t want to dictate three words at a time—it tends to disrupt the rhythm and makes me forget what I was thinking in the first place—I knew I needed another option.

Being a Facebook junkie, I decided to crowd-source and see if there were any speech-to-text apps that my friends recommended. Unfortunately, many of my friends didn’t think I knew about the built-in microphone, so many of them suggested I try that. But finally, my go-to tech guy suggested DragonDictation by Nuance Communications.

I checked it out and it seems robust enough on first glance to do what I want. You record what you want to say and then you have the option of sharing it multiple ways—by email, text, etc. Of course, today while walking the dog, I was not inspired at all, but hopefully, within the next few days, I’ll be able to try it out and see how it works.

Has anyone else tried anything that they like?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Picture Tells the Story

What's the old saying? A picture tells a thousand words.

If that really is the case, I have one heck of a story going. Over the course of our long weekend getaway, I took 235 pictures! That comes to 235,000 words. Too bad I can't really count that toward my writing progress this week! :)

It's easy to get carried away. Especially in the age of digital cameras. I usually average between 100 and 200 pictures for long weekend vacations. On our cruise this past spring I was a little over 400. When we moved our one-room schoolhouse here in town I took over 100 in one day. Things really have changed from the time of roll film. I took a trip during college to England for three weeks. I of course brought my camera. And three rolls of film. Yep. That's it. I don't know if I was worried about having enough space. Or the cost of the film. Or if I really thought 84 pictures would be enough. And I captured some great moments. But looking back, I wish I'd captured more. Especially since I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to return. I wish I'd been a bit more discerning in the pictures I took. I have some wonderful pictures of all the places we visited: London, Nottingham, Stratford, Cambridge. But then I have pictures of the rooms of the house we stayed in. Of the swans on the river. Nice, but not much different than pictures I can take right here.

Pictures really do help tell our stories. Even though our weekend trip lasted only three days, the memories made will last a lifetime. And the pictures will help us remember those good times. Eventually, those pictures will go into a scrapbook. I love putting scrapbooks together. I used to think I needed to use every picture I took. But that's a lot of pictures to deal with, so I've gotten better at choosing just the right ones for each page and not cramming every single one on.

The pictures are of people and places. Sometimes it's a group shot, sometimes it's a couple, sometimes it's just the gals or just the guys, or sometimes it's even a single person. I take pictures of all the places we visit. From lots of different angles, some zoomed in, some farther away. Some of just the place. Some with people in front of it or next to it or behind it. And while it's nice to have all of those pictures of the places, it's easy to get carried away and let the background get in the way of the people who were there. The places are an important part of the trip, but the focus really should be on the people who are in those places, right?

Writing is a lot like this, too. When I create a world for my characters, I want to explore it and spend as much time there as possible. I want my reader to experience it along with me, which means lots of details and descriptions. But I have to be careful not to get too carried away. I can't let the setting detract from my characters and their story. Yes, the setting is important, but it's what the characters do and feel and experience in that setting that really makes the story. So like choosing the best picture to use in a scrapbook, it's important to choose just the right details in a story. I want my stories to feel real and have an accurate sense of time and place, but I also want my characters to stand out and not get bogged down and lost in endless pages of description. It's a fine line to balance. So it's okay to use the delete button during edits. I don't have to keep every single word I (painstakingly) wrote during drafting, just like I don't have to use every single picture I took on my scrapbook page. The story will still shine through, and perhaps even better when it's not bogged down with all of that background.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Editing - and more editing

I’m about half way through revising and editing ‘Irish Inheritance’. Each chapter is taking me about 8 or 9 hours to get through – almost as long as writing the chapter in the first place! With 27 chapters (averaging about 3,500 words each), that’s a lot of hours!

I tend to do some basic editing as I write the first draft, but once the whole story is written, here’s my usual process with each chapter:

1. Read through the chapter, and adjust the elements of the story where necessary – add, delete, amend etc, and check for repeated/unnecessary explanations, and also for continuity. This can also involve going back to earlier chapters to check, add, or delete there too, or making a note to remind myself for later chapters.

2. Go through again, and fine-tune words and phrasing. A thesaurus can come in useful here to find the exact word I want, instead of being content with a word or phrase that now seems inadequate. I also try to spot very basic errors my current chapter, I found I’d written ‘small pinpricks of excitement’ and thought, ‘Hmm, pinpricks ARE small’ so I deleted the unnecessary word.

3. Use the ‘find’ facility on Word to find and change the words I know I tend to overuse. Yes, we all have them! Only, really, just, then, so, maybe, look, ‘ly’words – my list seems to be getting longer, not shorter.

4. Put the chapter through Autocrit Wizard (yes, you knew I’d mention that again, didn’t you?) – and groan at the overused or repeated words and phrases I missed. This is probably the longest part of the whole process, as Autocrit highlights other errors, or least areas that can be improved. For example, in my latest chapter, the heroine nodded so much, it’s a wonder her head didn’t fall off. It can take me a long time to sort out the style problems and find some way to rephrase them.

5. Once I’ve been through all the different categories on Autocrit, I read the chapter out loud. This helps me to spot any typos, missed words or missed punctuation. It also tells me if the ‘flow’ of my writing sounds right, or if I need to adjust any phrasing, or use pronouns instead of names (and vice versa).

6. When I think the chapter is ‘perfect’ (ha!), I put it through Autocrit again, preen myself at losing the errors, and then cringe at the final ‘combination report’ which can still highlight the things I’ve missed! How did I miss the word ‘about’ three times in one paragraph?

7. Having done all this, I send the chapter to my two critique partners. And yes, they come up with queries and suggestions, so I open up the chapter again, and take their advice on board.

8. Once I’ve gone through this process with every chapter, I put them all together, and do a ‘Find’ on the whole document for those repeat words and phrases. Even though there may only be one in each chapter, a reader will notice if the same phrase keeps appearing chapter after chapter. I know this from my own reading.

9. I then read through the story backwards, page by page. This takes you away from the story line, and makes you concentrate on the words, sentences, paragraphs, and on any punctuation errors too.

10. Last but not least, I put the story away for about a week, do something else, and then come back to it, and read it through from start to finish. And yes, I can still find something I want to tweak!




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Attracting Readers...Or Not

My daughter is sitting here arguing with me about her reading list and it’s killing me.

The school’s summer reading list is “suggested.” My daughter is not a reader. When she finds a book she loves, she’ll devour it, but she’s very particular and there are not a lot of books she loves. Plus, getting her to the point where she discovers that she “loves” the book is a struggle.

The plan for today is to go to the library and look at the books on the list to see if any strike her fancy. She does not want to go. She doesn’t think she’s going to like any of the books on the list because the descriptions either don’t sound interesting (the kiss of death) or they sound too easy for her (now she’s offended). So we’re already starting off on the wrong foot.

I’ve tried to explain to her that the descriptions on the paper do not do justice to the book. I’m not sure they were even written by the authors. She’s convinced they were and according to her, if the author can’t make the three sentences sound good, why would she want to read the book?

I’ve tried to explain that if she doesn’t like the sound of any of the books when we get to the library and she actually looks at the books, she doesn’t have to check them out. She wants to know to what degree uninteresting is—will I make her read it if it sounds a little interesting?

She’s eleven. She’s not reading the books I write. But let this be fair warning to all authors. My daughter is a tough critic, and she can’t be the only one out there. Make sure the descriptions of your books are as well written as the actual book and make it as appealing as possible.

Readers, what is it about book descriptions that attracts you or pushes away? 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

F's from the younger generation

For a week now, I've hosted a houseful of creative thirty-year olds. One is enrolled in screenplay writing school. Three years ago, he created (with two partners) a Doritos commercial that aired during the Superbowl. Another just learned she won a first place in an IFP script contest. A former Olympic-bound gymnast used to do set decoration for Target ads and is branching into art direction for films. Others write music, act, do sound recording, filming. One's acting genre is zombie commercials and films.

All are collaborative. And fearless. The musician couple shared how they used to be 'fixed' in their songwriting; once they wrote a song, they felt it was etched in stone. Over time, they've learned to write a song and let it go. If it 'works,' they keep it. If it flops, they set it aside and will pluck out the best bits for reworking into new material.

I was struck by how I am where they were. I been holding onto my WIP, thinking it could be no more or less than my original vision. Maybe it can, or maybe it could be revised or updated.

The new contest winner noted how she needed a deadline. (She needed and got an extension, and still won.) She offered to hold my deadline. I asked for an extension until next winter. There's no way I can write right now. For five more days, I'm cooking their meals, washing their dishes, being one of their go-fers--and picking CSA veggies and shipping soup orders.

And soaking up their flexibility and fearlessness.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I am always thrilled when I get a good review for one of my books. It brings such a sense of pride and accomplishment when someone likes your book a lot. The snippets are great for promotion, too. I got a three-star review once and was a bit disappointed, but tried to let it roll off the best I could. Everyone has their own opinions of what they like and don't like to read. And three stars isn't an awful rating, just an average one.

The other day I read a book off of my Kindle. I'm thinking at one point it was a freebie I picked up somewhere. Or maybe I won it in a contest. I really don't remember. It wasn't by a publisher I was familiar with, so perhaps it was even a self-published one.

I'm sorry to say this book was one of the worst stories I've ever read. Luckily it was a short one as I soldiered on to the end. Don't ask me why. Morbid curiosity perhaps?

First of all there were spelling/usage/grammar errors on every page. The author switched from the POV of one character to another paragraph by paragraph and once even dipped into a third party's head. These things could have been fixed by an editor, or even a careful read-through. However, it was obvious that editing was not something this author was familiar with. Besides the horrific editing, the story itself was not good. One of the opening scenes was the 19 year old hero having sex with a prostitute while the heroine (then 14) hid under the bed. The historic details did not seem authentic. And the hero and the heroine's family come up with a devious plan to trick the heroine into returning to the hero.

When I finished I realized I'd lost about 45 minutes of my life that I'd never get back. I was a little annoyed with myself. I mean there are so many good books out there, why did I waste time with one that was really, really awful?

I decided to take a peek at the reviews for this book. I was just curious as to what others had to say about it.

Much to my shock and dismay, most of the reviews on Amazon for this book were five star ones. Most claimed the book was riveting, well-written, and a realistic love story. What? Had these people read the same book I did? Then I looked a little more closely. Several of the reviews had as many typos and spelling/grammar mistakes as the book itself. Hmn? What an interesting 'coincidence'. Someone had given it three stars as they liked the story (Really?!) but were distracted by the spelling errors. Well, at least that was something. One did make me laugh. I don't remember what rating was given (although in my opinion it wasn't low enough), but the comment said something about the reader's middle school child being able to spell better and she was dyslexic.

This makes it very clear why there is so much debate about the authenticity and validity of reader reviews on Amazon. And it made we wonder if they do indeed dilute the effectiveness (for lack of a better word) of reviews done by actual review sites. When I get a five star review I am pleased as punch. I feel pride and joy and a sense of accomplishment. When I read these five star reviews I was outraged. Now I'm no Nora Roberts, but the quality and content of my books and this story are light years apart. But anyone looking on Amazon and judging by just the reviews, would find them on equal footing. Plus, this other book had many more five star ratings than any of mine ever did.

Of course reviews are only part of what people look at when considering a book. Many other things are considered as well: cover, blurb, previous books by the author, price. Deciding what to read is a very personal decision. No two readers choose a book in exactly the same way. Which is why there is so much debate as to what is THE most important thing about a book that attracts readers.

I did think about adding a review, just to warn people. I didn't want to do it out of pettiness or meanness, but just to give my own honest opinion of the story. But since I find I don't have time to write reviews for the books I think are good, I really didn't want to waste anymore time on this story than I already had. (Then again, here I am posting about it several days later, so it's still on my mind.) I'm still shocked that there were no one or two star reviews. Perhaps others who held the same opinion as I did just didn't bother to write anything. Or maybe they were taught if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. And of course, everyone's taste is different and unique.

So, how much stock do you put into reviews? For your own books and for those you choose to read?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When do you do your best writing?

I must admit I gulp when I read about someone who writes 2,000 words before breakfast. If I wrote any words before breakfast, they would be total gibberish.
I am not a morning person. When I was working, a colleague once said, “Don’t ask Paula anything before ten thirty if you want a sensible answer.” Now I wonder how I actually managed to teach my first class of the day. Or second, or even third.
I’m a night owl. I’ve always been a night owl. When I was a child, I read books under the covers by flashlight long after my parents thought I was asleep. As a teenager, I wrote screeds in my diary every night. Well, at that age, you have to write down everything the latest heart-throb said or did, don’t you? Actually, I didn’t have a diary. I had a cardboard folder, and by the end of the year it was about an inch or so thick. I wish I’d kept it. It would probably be hilarious to read now.
I wrote stories as a teenager too. I waited until my parents had gone to bed, and then I switched on my light, and wrote. My friends eagerly awaited the next instalment of my romantic stories, and I couldn’t disappoint them, could I? For ‘romantic stories’, read cheesy, chaste novellas. Come on, this was the late fifties, before the swinging sixties had been invented!
Most of the sixties was taken up with university, dating, getting married, and having babies, so fiction writing took a back seat. When I did start writing again, it had to be in the evenings, when the babes were asleep. What the neighbour thought about me pounding away every evening on one of those ancient upright typewriters, I dread to think. They must have been relieved when I eventually progressed to a less noisy portable typewriter.
Then I returned to teaching, so again writing was abandoned. Occasionally I wrote short stories and also did a series of magazine articles for several years but, because of family and schoolwork, my writing had to be done in the evenings, of course.
So what happened when I retired? I didn’t immediately start writing again, but when I did, guess what? I wrote in the evenings. I still do. Even if I have a free day, my brain still seems to be programmed to switch into creative mode in mid-evening. Then I can go on until about 1a.m – so it’s perhaps as well I don’t have to get up very early the next morning.
I could probably write a lot more if I trained myself to write during the daytime, but why break the habit of a lifetime?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One Plus One Really Does Equal Two!

My goal for the three and a half weeks that my children are away at sleep away camp has been to write 1,000 words a day in each of my manuscripts.  So far, I’ve been pretty successful. I’ve taken off most weekends, but my word total is 14,666 for one and 13,948 for the other.

I was talking to my mom about it the other day—now that she knows I write, she likes to keep up with what I’m doing—and she expressed shock that I could write two separate stories at the same time. I tried to compare it to having two conversations with two different people, but she wasn’t convinced.

That got me do you write two separate stories and keep them unique? As an author, we have to find our own voice, the intangible thing that makes us stand out from the other authors and immediately identifies our work as our own. For some it might be humor, for others, the way we describe things.

But our stories have to have something that differentiates each other. It can’t just be a new set of characters or a different setting. Well, I guess it can, but it quickly becomes apparent to the reader that this is the same old thing over and over again. Each story has to be unique. Each hero or heroine has to be a complete person and different from any other hero or heroine we might create.

How do I keep them straight? The easy answer is, “I just do.” The more thought-out answer is that if I truly am creating a complete character, there’s no way to get them confused. It would be like getting my children confused (okay, I admit to sometimes calling them by the wrong name, but that’s not because I don’t know who they are). And if my characters are well developed, then the story will not get confused either, because there are only certain things that could happen to a particular character. Each story and character are unique, there is not “one size fits all.”

So, while working on two manuscripts at the same time has been an experiment for me, I’d have to say that so far, it’s a success. It’s nice to be able to switch gears and work with totally different characters and storylines. I feel super-productive, and I get to impress my mom, which is always a good thing! J

Have you worked on more than one project at a time? How did you keep everything straight?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Made for the big screen

About this video

My home is now the 'hotel-restaurant-staging area' for the Middle Americans film shoot.  Between 6 and 11 cast and crew people will be here for ten days.

The script is printed and in binders. Wardrobe is organized downstairs by actor and episode. I've done what seems like a zillion washer / dryer loads of borrowed blankets.

I will have an on set view of kind of what it would be like to have a novel made into a movie--if I were allowed to retain creative control, which is unlikely unless my daughter produces and directs it. After I finish it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bedside Notebook

When an idea hits you full force, you need to do something with it, even if it's the middle of the night.

That's why I keep a notebook and a pen on my nightstand. I used to replay the scene that came to me over and over so I wouldn't forget it, but that didn't always work. Sometimes if you don't write down the exact phrase that came to you at the moment it comes to you, it's lost forever. At least that's how it works with my forgetful brain.

A couple nights ago I had a very productive night. (Well, productive writing-wise...I actually didn't get much sleep.) Most times I grab the notebook and jot down just a line or two. Usually something to add to a scene I'd been working on, but the other night I wrote enough to create two entire scenes the next day. The trickiest part is being able to decipher what I wrote in the middle of the night with the lights off so I don't disturb the hubby. :)

I've also been known to scribble lines, phrases, and thoughts on any scrap of paper, envelope, or gum wrapper I can find in my purse/car. Like I said, when the idea hits, it's best to get it down right away. I also wrote an entire scene in the back of my day planner once while waiting at the doctor's office.

After a long while away where my interest and muse was waning, it's nice to be back to being productive with my writing again. I'm up to 15,800 words on my WIP. Now granted, they are scattered words, as I'm not writing in a manner that would be considered chronological in any way, shape, or form...but it's getting the job done. Like I said, when the idea for a scene comes to me, I write it. Later I'll figure out if it's in just the right place for the story. I even wrote part of the ending the other day. Whatever works, right?

Today I need to do some weeding out by the pond and finish a scrapbook page, but after that I'm going to grab that notebook and use it as my jumping off point for my writing for the day. Having a place to start instead of facing a blank page with a blinking curser is always a nice feeling.

What do you do when an idea hits and you're not sitting at the keyboard?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Does being a writer make you over-critical?

Did I mention Autocrit Wizard? I’ve decided I love this programme. It identifies overused words, repeated words or phrases, and many more problems in your manuscript, and I have learnt so much from it.

It catches errors I wouldn’t normally notice. I never realised, for example, how often I used ‘He/She thought for a moment’ or how many times my characters say ‘I think’ or ‘I’m not sure’. Now I’m learning how to rephrase in order to avoid these repeats. As a result, I think (hope!) my writing is tighter, and I’ll also be able to apply what I’ve learned in my future writing. I’ve already phased out a lot of “just, then, only, so” words, but now I have others to watch out for.

I worked out that it takes me at least 6+ hours to go through each chapter with Autocrit (and the ‘find’ facility on Word) because there are times when I really have to re-think what I want to say. That’s not including the initial tidying up of the chapter, or even the read-aloud part, both of which involve some re-writing. So yes, I work hard on my revising, editing, and polishing.

Now on to the main point of this blog. I’ve read several books recently as the current heatwave in the UK has not been conducive to sitting in front of a computer. Okay, it might not be hot by American standards, but it is a heatwave here if it’s more than 80 degrees for two consecutive days, and now we’ve had nearly a week of high temperatures - and no air-conditioning in our homes either, since we don’t normally need it! But back to the books I’ve read whilst enjoying the sunshine …

Two of them, by a couple of successful British romance writers (no names mentioned, but one has 6 published books, the other has dozens by M&B/HQN) had me shaking my head at frequently repeated phrases, over-use of ‘ly’ words, and even ‘he was sat’ or ‘she was stood’ which always makes me cringe! I won’t even go into contrived plots, cardboard cut-out characters with no depth or emotion, and ‘convenient’ or rushed endings. One even had a hero that I found thoroughly objectionable and also totally inconsistent. I wanted the heroine to tell him to get lost several times!

Having said that, those particular two I read are on sale at Asda-Walmart and other places, and are high in the Amazon ratings. I’ve also read the reviews for these two books - and wonder if the reviewers have read the same books as I read. For example, the one that I thought had cardboard characters was stated to have ‘excellent characterisation’ by one reviewer.

It occurs to me, therefore, that writing your own books can make you over-critical of others. What do you think?

P.S. I’m glad to say other books I’ve read recently have warranted less criticism from me, but those are not the ones that appear on the supermarket shelves for general consumption.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Power of Comments

I received the best comment from a reader!

During my review tour for my latest book, The Seduction of Esther, one of the people who stopped at the review site, left the following comment:

“That's interesting. Do you think that there will be a whole "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" series? I think matchmakers are cool!”

First, let me explain. In The Seduction of Esther, there is a character named Joyce who is a bit of a busybody and decides that my hero, Nathaniel, and heroine, Samara, would make a great couple, so she throws a party to introduce the two of them. Of course, they’ve already met—she dropped potatoes all over him, and then spilled wine down his shirt, and then...—but this party is the first time he gets to see her when she’s not being a klutz and for once, she helps him out when he’s a bit uncomfortable with all the attention. Throughout the book, Joyce pops up occasionally to redirect them, and while she’s not officially a “matchmaker,” she is essential to their happily ever after.

While The Seduction of Esther is supposed to be the first book in a series, I had not intended to make Joyce a major catalyst in book two. In fact, book two’s hero and heroine already know each other from book one. The heroine, Miriam, is Samara’s sister; the hero, Josh, was the villain from book one who has since redeemed himself. The impetus for their getting together is a professional project they work on—he’s the architect and she is his daily contact at the job site. While previously they didn’t like each other—he did cause a lot of trouble for her sister, after all—working together shows a different side of Josh and Miriam begins to fall for him. I don’t really need a matchmaker.

But my reader’s comment got me thinking. What if I play around with that idea a bit? I might not need Joyce to actually set them up, but maybe I can use her to plant an earworm or two at key points during the story. The books have a Jewish theme to them and there are scenes in the temple and scenes that portray Jewish life and culture. As is true anywhere, any type of community has a certain amount of gossip. So far, I have Joyce trying to get information about their relationship out of Miriam and later on, wondering how their relationship will affect Miriam’s and Samara’s relationship—after all, Josh was first attracted to Samara and is now attracted to Miriam. That could create a bit of sibling tension.

The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. It’s still too early in the story to determine if it works. I have a lot of pieces to fit together and I won’t know for certain until I tie up all the loose ends. But if you’ve ever commented about a writer’s book, whether it’s one you’ve already read or one the writer is still working on, and wondered if your voice is heard? It is!