Critique Partner

That’s a tall order. I thought I had two after attending a networking meetup in CT. It is a tall order and a definite commitment. If you consider when a reader sits down, plugs in, or fire’s up to read your book they are investing several hours perhaps an entire weekend to enjoy your craft. There are so many variables as well. The genre for one. I don’t read horror. So, my time is precious to me and I just wouldn’t waste the time. A good book (my opinion) however I would feel satisfied and most often wish there was more.

I found a third critique partner and she read my MS#3. This poor MS has been around the block. Several times. Subject to a professional edit, always on the back burner, at least 50 queries have been sent out. The last batch of Q’s went out at the end of October 2017. Nothing. Do I want to bother to drop any one of the eight agents an e-mail. “Did you forget me?” or “I’m sure it was an oversight and the query I spent several hours preparing must have slipped off your desk and is under the printer collecting dust.” Not to mention the months–years it took to write the MS. This poor MS has been ignored, passed over, and dismissed. My critique partner loved it. This rant is only to show that if you can only get someone to read your work, then there’s a chance one of the characters, scenarios, or bit of dialogue will get under someone’s skin. Getting that to happen is the million dollar question. I’m rejuvenated by the extremely positive review my MS#3 received from someone whose opinion I respect. I will meet with her and discuss the MS (I love when that happens) I know what I have to do. The book is worthy, maybe the Q has a problem, the description needs tweaking, and my bio sucks (not much I can do about that) the work is good. I know that now. I knew it then, but the writer is always the last to know that the writing is not that good. Get people to read your MS. I find that is the hardest part. What’s a book? Something you buy and put on the shelf until a rainy day comes along. When the mood moves you. When the buzz comes along by word of mouth. When the Book Club chooses a book and you have a month or so to read it. It’s a pastime and I want it to be more.

Anyway, this little distraction from the real work at hand. I just completed Book #3 in The Summer Palace series. Presently titled Brumal Castle (not to be confused with Book#3 I mentioned earlier). I’m building scenes for The Summer Palace Book #4. The final and last chapter in the series, no title yet. Book #2 in the series White Tower is at the publisher waiting for me to sign the contract for another partnership. I was hoping for a traditional contract, but Book #1 is still in  the early stages and has to prove it can bring in the sales. I’m like a juggler in the circus tossing fire balls up in the air expecting to catch and release each and every one before I scorch my hands.

So, I gear up for another round of Q’s. Only this time they’re going to be better. Because the work requires it.

All About the Critique

Since my book was published, I have been trying to get the word out. Since there are genres of books I don’t care to read, I understand that my book has a certain audience. Most of the feedback has been very positive. Then, there are the few negative comments that give me pause. Of the sixteen readers at two different book clubs one was very  hostile, two were very critical of the syntax but still liked the book. Thirteen readers enjoyed the book thoroughly and gave rave reviews. Now, I’m having to learn how to be a little more assertive, for one of the criticisms was wrong the word was not misspelled. I assumed the word was looked up before the criticism was made. Typos happen, but there was no typo in that instance.

So, after writing the book and getting it published there’s the marketing and promotional aspects to consider. Now, I’m becoming a public speaker and preparing for another Book Club review. I was not prepared to defend myself at the last Book Club review in which questions were asked that led me to believe… they didn’t read the book or looked at it with the wrong attitude. Thank goodness for the great reviews, for it puts it all into perspective. I looked up some questions to ask at my next Book Club reviewers specifically when the author is present. These two are from LitLovers.

9. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask? Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others?

10. Has this novel changed you—broadened your perspective? Have you learned something new or been exposed to different ideas about people or a certain part of the world?

Something to consider. The reader wants to know the genre, the POV, a little about the author, the style, and the reason for writing the book in the first place.

I recently watched a video on Classic Style given by Harvard professor, Steven Pinker. In short, the writer sees something in the world the reader has not. The writer positions the reader to see it through her eyes. The reader and writer are equals and the style is conversation. I relate to this. This is why I write. Just as I molded my story into a Literary Historical Fiction genre, for I had no concept of target market or chosen genre at the time; I want to believe that mine is a Classic Style of writing, always improving and sharing. I’m a teller of stories and was a listener before I was ever a writer.

I’d like to share another few paragraphs from my book The Summer Palace by S. Forrest Nomakeo and hope you take the time to read my book. Escape, Explore, and Enjoy. It is now available in paperback on and e-book format on and B& In the UK you’ll find it at and at


She climbed into the sledge and covered herself with blankets, and the driver patiently looked to Mitia who signaled his promise not to keep them waiting any longer than necessary.
She didn’t know what had happened. William’s hold on her made her think of Wiley. She hadn’t felt anything close to that with Mitia, and why not?
Why can’t I love him? He surely deserves it. What is wrong with me?
Mitia had climbed in beside her, but she didn’t notice, for she was so far removed from the joy of the day. He nudged her and she came away from her cogitation as he burrowed himself in beside her. She shoved the strange feelings away, as she was apt to do, and was able to be in the moment with Mitia.
“Mitia, you were like someone else today. No wonder you spend so much time at the office your work is your life. We should do this more often,” she said.
She rested her head on his shoulder. His nimble fingers inside kid gloves stroked her hair that spiraled out from inside her sable hat.
“Katia, what happened back there?” he asked
“Mitia, I’m embarrassed to say, but there are no secrets between us, right?” she asked. “It’s William, when he helped me down… I saw and felt Wiley’s presence. Those feelings of love and loss, that I managed to bury deep inside, rushed to the surface like a flooded plain.”
“He has that effect on many people, Katia,” he said firmly grasping her arm. “It’s love.”


Critique Partner

I had networked and found two CP’s. One has since opted out, too much of a commitment, and I haven’t heard from the other. It is a daunting task to read one’s work and share your own. Ever since my MS saw the light of day, I have been dying to talk about it—all of it. Until recently, I had only been able to do that with my loyal and devoted sister, Catherine.

Christine met me for lunch and had recently read The Summer Palace we agreed to meet for a different purpose. She is going to read a WIP… a burgeoning CP I hope. Still, the conversion was invigorating the subtle queues she picked up on were amazing. She payed attention and even pointed some things out to me I hadn’t realized.

Some people simply love to read and it’s our job as writers to supply them with worthy prose.