The Hope Keeps Coming

This past March I was happy to find a blog by a writer named Cathryn Wellner, who had  set out to find 1001 reasons to be hopeful. I quickly got addicted to her daily discoveries of people who left her with optimism about humanity, and I wrote about her here.  The problem was that she had decided to find exactly 1001 reasons to be hopeful and she was at number 973 and going. Why hadn’t I stumbled upon this lady sooner? She picked the number 1001 because “that’s how many nights it took Scheherazade to soften the heart of the king” but it meant that I only had 28 more doses of hope coming to my 4

Day 1001 brought a nice surprise. Her uplifting event of the day was how many people had written her and asked her to please keep going. She admitted that the daily schedule was hard to meet but she would now publish a weekly dollop of hope. True to her word, reason 1006 — a wonderful story of a elderly woman who refused to sell her house to developers in Seattle and ultimately became friends with them — is in my inbox right next to reason 1005 — the story of a man traveling the world with a piano in the back of his pick-up truck.  I’ve kept both stories there because I particularly like them and wanted to reread them once or twice before I recycled the electrons. Her ongoing compilation is called “This Gives Me Hope” and it will have you laughing, crying and feeling better about life on this planet. I promise.

I like the poster above, shared by the Facebook page of Foundation for A Better Life and I don’t dispute what it says. However, it is easier to find that sunshine to bring when you take in a weekly dose of  hope.


Try not to care about reviews? Yeah, right …..

Jeffrey KeenI’ve read a lot of discussion lately about how reviews are meant for other readers, not for the writer of the work that is being reviewed. I understand the point, of course, but think that almost anyone who pours their heart and soul out for months (or years) into a book ends up craving some feedback. Sales only provide a cold, dry number, and if you’re self-published like I am, it will seldom be an encouraging one.  Friends and family can and will give opinions, but of course they are biased and usually they aren’t part of the target audience anyway.

A writer wants to know what total strangers, ones who like the kinds of books she writes, think about her book. So yes, reviews matter to a writer, whether they should or not.  I imagine they must mean as much to an actor, or a musician or anyone who puts themselves out there to entertain and amuse the world, and there is no way around that. Once a books has hundreds of reviews, I suppose that individual ones matter less. I hope some day to find out.

One knows that one shouldn’t respond to any review personally no matter how badly one wants to, and no matter how much the review has made your spirits soar or forced your mood into a deep abyss. I’ve been doing a virtual book tour with Reading Addiction Blog Tours these past few weeks and four reviews have been posted so far.

The first, on A Life Through Books, appeared on April 22nd and it begins with “This novel was quite surprising in the fact that it was much deeper than I was expecting from a Science Fiction novel. We are giving everything we love from a good Sci-Fi novel as well as focus on the deeper family/drama aspects of life.” Talk about a reason to jump for joy. “Yes, yes” I wanted to shout. “You got it. You understand.” But of course I didn’t shout anything. I try to be a well-behaved writer.

April 30 A Shelf Full of Books published a review that said “Z Squared is a multi-faceted novel not only about a teacher with the ability to manipulate the speed of time, but about the mystery of the treasure related to a Mayan artifact and racism with overtones of the Klu Klux Klan. There was definitely more to this novel than the synopsis implied.” Another reader who got it. I’m squirming in my chair now, but I’m still not saying anything.

May 1 Pure Jonel reviewed z2. She only gave it three stars (sigh) but her words were so positive that I hardly cared. Her review begins “What a unique story. It took me a bit to warm up to the story, but once I did I was hooked.” I’m so glad that she stuck it out!

Then yesterday Mommasez reviewed it and she said “Being interactive was the first highlight of this book. The second was that the story was so well-written and entertaining.” Okay at this point I have to do something. This is so exciting for me. So I figure one little blog post here, mentioning how happy these reviews make me, is surely within the bound of good taste.

(Thanks to writer Jeffrey Keen on Facebook for sharing the image above.)