I’ve been fortunate to receive some great reviews for Paraglide. Readers on Amazon and Barnes and Noble have been incredibly positive and the book blogging community has been a revelation–who knew so many people out there were passionately writing about books?  One of the things I like about reviews(other than it means someone actually read my book) is the different things people take from what I’ve written.

Some people focus on the exotic locations:

“It felt like I was on a tour to these stunning places, I now have a plan to visit them in real life.”

“I loved being transported to Tuscany, Venice and Switzerland…”

Some readers zero in on Jim’s love of food and call out the cooking scenes:

“the sights and smells had my mouth watering more then once”

One recent review focused on the relationship between Jim and Erica and their father, seeing that as the central theme of the story. Others write exclusively about the action, plot or character development.

They are all correct, of course. Every book means something slightly different to everyone who reads it. What we get out of a story depends on where we are in life, our experiences, passions and tastes. Even a bad review may simply reflect how a person was feeling that day (or so I tell myself). We all have unique perspectives and it’s truly a joy to hear them.



Setting the Scene

Beginning writers often are instructed to write what they know. For the longest time, I never really understood that rule. J.K. Rowling obviously didn’t know about wizards and I’m fairly certain Suzanne Collins has never experienced a fight to the death. Tolkien didn’t live in Middle Earth and never saw a hobbit or an orc, did he? How can anyone create a fictional world when they live in a non-fiction universe?

What a stupid rule, right?  Well…maybe I was a bit too hasty. Perhaps I was taking those instructions a bit too literally. Maybe the rule means taking what you know and twisting and turning it a bit until  it no longer resembles reality, but still retains that kernel of truth that resonates with readers. An example came to mind recently when I visited the dentist. I know have all the material I’ll ever need if I want to write a scene about a torture chamber: A single chair in the center of a sterile room, a cold light hovering  like an unblinking alien eye, a metal tray full of bluish gray, pencil-sized rods tipped with cruelly curved picks, the muted buzz of a drill, the scent liquid metal, heavy breathing and a masked face…

Stop, stop, stop. I’ll tell you anything. I did it. I didn’t do it.  Just please, stop!