Reader Feedback


Received a review today for Mama Played for the King. The reader said she really enjoyed the book and all the trauma the family went through. And, best of all, she said will be reading more of my books. All of that is music to my ears.

Getting feedback, good or bad, is a  challenge to the writer to analyze what was said. Writers needs to verify that the positive comments are validation and that they are on the right track for effective fiction writing. Or, if the feedback is negative, to assess and check for an area of their writing that needs work. Either way, the writer is lucky to have that information as they work on their current writing.

I’m working on some critiques of my writing from several fellow writers. Their praise or their suggestions for necessary adds/changes/deletes are so very valuable and have helped me improve my writing skills over the years.

Yet, there is a difference in how a reader versus a fellow writer sees the writing. Sometimes a fellow writer will suggest changes that portray their writer’s ‘voice’ versus your own writer’s ‘voice.’ A good writer can be identified early in their novels by their writer’s ‘voice’.

But, no matter, feedback is what we writer’s want and when we get it, it is sincerely appreciated. Which brings to mind the following quote by Samuel Johnson. “I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.”

Rest in Peace, Dad

No writing today. Instead, I spent the day traveling over to Needles, CA to visit my Dad’s grave. Actually, he was my step-father, but in the words of Brad Paisley’s song – ‘He was the Dad he didn’t have to be.’ My mother married him when I was nine. Although he was not the type of man to hug and kiss his children to show his love for them, there was never a doubt that he did and that he was always the ‘go-to’ guy for any problem.

I only remember him hugging me once. I was in my late 20s and had two kids. It was Christmas Eve and we were watching my kids and my young brothers and sisters open their presents. I was standing in the hallway door watching the kids as they tore into their gifts. All of a sudden, I felt an arm around my shoulder. My Dad gave me a quick squeeze, then said, “I’m very proud of the woman you’ve become, Shari Ann.” It lasted only a moment, then he was off into the living room telling the kids to start cleaning up the wrapping paper and ribbons mess. But, that moment meant the world to me.

He passed away at age 69 from the big C. Way too young! Now, every year around the date of his birthday and during the Christmas holiday, I buy a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and drive over to ‘chat’ with him. I pour some on his grave and take some sips myself as I tell him how much he is missed by me and all his kids/grandkids and that we hope he had been rewarded generously where ever he is now. I also put a quarter on the headstone. He loved to play Keno at the casinos, so I leave the quarter as start-up money should he find a Keno machine where ever he is.

Now, as I close out the day, I think of this quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again.”

Change – It’s a Good Thing

Had an interesting day working on book 7 of my Farrell Family Saga. Today’s writing included lots of nostalgia through discussion between the characters. When I review my work tomorrow, I’ll be looking for redundancy and hopefully there won’t be too much. I seldom review my writing on the same day I wrote it. I always give it a day to settle. Then, when I sit down to write the next day, I start by editing what I wrote the day before and make any adds/deletes/changes before I move the story forward.

Also, today I worked on some critiques I received from my fellow writers in the LHCWG, Lake Havasu City Writer’s Group,. Lots of valuable feedback. I will miss the group. I resigned last month after being with the group for over ten years. In fact, I was one of the founders of the group. The group has grown from around 10 writers to over 30, which means a lot of reading to be able to give my fellow writers good critiques. Also, they are becoming a community involvement group and will be offering scholarships. For the most part, they are talented, fun-loving and motivated writers and I will still enjoy socializing with many of them. But, they have outgrown my needs which is to just read my  fellow writers work and give them constructive feedback, then receive the same in return for my writing submissions.

Fortunately, I have several readers who like editing my work. Getting feedback from readers who enjoy my genre is very valuable and I am blessed to have them, especially now.

When I think about leaving the LHCWG and if it was a right decision, I think of this quote by Norbert Wiener, The human Use of Human Beings. “Progress imposes not only new possibilities for the future, but new restrictions.”

Assessing Actions

Been thinking about yesterday and the value of going to the KABAM festival each year. The cons are – travel distance, low sales and no time to work on my current novel. The pros are – interaction with other writers (both local and distant), the possibility of having that ‘one’ person walk up and offer you a publishing/marketing contract. It didn’t happen yesterday, but you never know who was there and what they saw/read.

I was chosen by my grandson Nick to be his confirmation sponsor. Because I can’t be with him physically each week, we call each other every Sunday as suggested by the confirmation coordinator. Today was Sunday and Sunday is the day we make the calls to check to see if spiritual guidance is needed in any way. Fortunately, guidance wasn’t needed this week, so we just had a nice conversation about a report on the immune system he had to write, then orally present it to his teacher and his classmates. He feels like he did quite well. He is brilliant, so no worries about his grade on the report.

Also, today, I worked on Peace by Pieces – Farrell Family Saga  –  Book 7. I worked on the formatting of ‘was’ and effectively sharing old family memories/deeds without boring the reader to death. I think I got it, but won’t know for a few days. Regardless, it worked for me and brought back lots of Farrell family antics/gatherings.  The current characters’ trip down memory lane is about over and soon I’ll have them back in Houston for their moon trip prep.

All that work with memories brought to mind this quote from Cicero. “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.” So very true!


KABAM – 2016

Spent a fun day in Kingman, AZ at their annual KABAM (Kingman Area Books Are Magic) festival. Lots of authors attended, at least 5 from Lake Havasu City. The three sitting near me in the author’s tent were from the Phoenix area. The variety of genres was quite varied, but there did seem to be a lot of fantasy and children’s books. To supplement the author sales, there were booths containing food, arts, crafts and clothing.

The planners worked hard and were so very accommodating to us authors. They had entertainment on a small stage from 10 am to 4 pm consisting of musicians, poets and story tellers.

The only drawback was lack of customers/readers. Most of the folks who stopped at my table to talk to me were authors who had tables themselves. I didn’t make many sales, but met some interesting folks. My favorite was a nine year old boy who kept coming back to my table to talk. He said he loved to read and intended to write his own book someday. I made him promise that he would write a ‘book’ and bring it to my table next year so I could read it. He said he loved fantasy and had many ideas of his own, especially regarding a character called ‘Flash’. I enjoyed his positive outlook on life and his promise to write his book. I’ll look for him at next year’s KABAM.

Mike, one of the moderators on the small stage, came around and interviewed the authors. He would take that info to the microphone and do a nice ad/promo for that author’s selection of books. When he did mine, he talked about my Farrell Family Saga series of books. He said the name, then spelled it out. Because, he joked, folks might think it was the ‘Feral’ Family. He laughed and said maybe they were feral which could make them a different kind of exciting reads. I do have to admit that, at times, some of the Farrell brothers have acted quite feral. Anyway, it was a cute promo and I thank Mike for it.

All in all, it was a good day and I came home motivated and hopeful. Those feelings, along with my memory of that nine year old potential author, reminded of this quote from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done.”