Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Friends

The picture to the left has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Why you ask? I didn't want regular readers of this blog to think that I'm always trying to hock one (or more) of my books. The picture is an historic area of Philadelphia, mostly preserved from the 18th Century.

Today I want to share a few thoughts about friends. I'm blessed with good friends. I'm not talking about just the Facebook kind of "friend." I mean the people in my life that though I may not see them for years, when we get together we can pick up exactly where we left off.

In less than a month I'm traveling out to Las Vegas to visit with my best friend. We used to live quite close to each other and visited often. Now we are a couple of thousand miles apart and manage to stay in touch via email, phone, and occasional visits. Two years ago, I traveled to Las Vegas to see him, and last October he flew to Florida to visit with me. Now it's my turn to go back to Vegas.

Recently, I was asked a "security question" on a website for the name of my childhood "friend." First, I'm not sure we have a good concept in childhood of what friendship means. Usually at that point it is a person you are hanging out with the most. When I was a kid, I had several "friends."

As I got older, some of the friends I had during college have drifted away. The internet and social media sites help with keeping in touch, but I always enjoy celebrating friendships of the lasting variety.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Home Stretch

I've crossed the 60,000 word mark on my latest suspense novel, COLD OATH. It will probably top out around 70,000 words, so I'm definitely in the home stretch.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reader Expectations

Recently I saw the title for a blog that asked the question: "Can a mystery still be good if no one gets killed?"

Of course, the short answer is, "Yes." But it got me thinking about reader expectations. So often, our life experiences - or our reaction to them - is based on how well it met our expectations. This is true of a restaurant meal, vacation, movie, play, or a book. We spend months planning a vacation, often having an idealized vision of what we will experience. Bad weather, airline delays, illness during the trip, are all factors that can turn "the trip of a lifetime" into a nightmare or at least a very forgettable vacation.

For much of my work career, my duties included organizing conferences, which were held in hotels.We always provided our participants with evaluation sheets, and would ask them to rate, for example, the conference meals. We provided a five point scale, and responses would be all over the place. I NEVER have high expectations for hotel banquet food, so if it arrives warm, looks good, and tastes palatable, I'd be likely to give it a rating of 5. For others it seems, they were expecting fine dining, and would rank low.

I often wonder how much a reader's reaction to my book is related to what they expected going into the read. A first time reader will be affected by the book's title, reading the short description on Amazon.com (for example), or perhaps even reading the first few pages online. Maybe a friend raves about the book, but then they don't quite have the same reaction. Or perhaps it is the other way around, a friend hands them the book and says, "I couldn't get into this, but you might like it."

Often, movies I enjoy the most are those I go into with ZERO expectations.

Similarly, with each new book I issue, I wonder what those loyal readers will think. Many of them have read all of my books, which definitely gives them an expectation level. I always hope I'm able to deliver.

Since "Life is a Mystery" do you have any thoughts you'd like to share on your expectations when it comes to a particular book or an author? Feel free to share your comments below.