How did I start?

Dang, I’ve been reviewing for 25 years. Didn’t realize it until I did the math. Wow. I’ve been part of the online community for that long, maybe a couple extra years. As we know, there’s been quite a bit of change over the years. Starting with better computer screens and easier to read font colours. No more dial-ups. I do miss chat rooms and mailing lists.

There’s a long and boring story behind how I found my way to the internet community, but I’m not going to go there. Hey, I can hear you cheering. LOL – do not ask how long it took me to figure out that meaning or any of the other short-forms.

I was a member of a mailing list for mystery writers. ListServ? One day someone put out a call for readers. They would send the book; I would read and write my thoughts. Boom, I’m a reviewer.

I stuck my cyber-hand up and took a chance. Repeat to the point someone else told me – open your own website, you’re too fast for me.

Yes, there have been rough times and I’m still backlogged, but I keep pushing through and, thankfully, people keep trusting me.

I’ve found the voice that is mine and I realize how strange that sounds. When I started I thought I had to write reviews a certain way in a certain tone. That there was a formula I had to follow. That formula got boring. I didn’t want to dissect a book. I wanted to read the book and talk about it. Sure, sometimes that meant criticizing the grammar and writing, but I didn’t have to be mean about it. I decided to share what I thought were the rough patches, the negatives, but with full acknowledgement that the non-mixing came from me.

There have been a couple of books that I couldn’t support and another couple that really did fail, well, those I never printed my reviews. I did tell those authors.

There’s been a couple of authors who have yelled at me for NOT accepting their book for reviewing. I know that confused me, too. Why yell at me for saying no? Why would you want someone to review your book if they’ve already told you they didn’t fit with what you shared about your book?  People can be strange.

And, then there’s the gushers. Have had quite a few of those. You know, the ones I can’t stop talking about…or basically tell you that I can’t stop talking about them. Really, only my family knows if I keep talking about them. One such author passed away this year. Hers was the first review I wrote exactly how I emailed her while reading – oh no, don’t you dare, dangit you made me cry, nooo, you little devil – that kind of review. We laughed together with that one. It hurts knowing there will be no more words from her.

There was a gentleman in his 70s or 80s who I was sent his first book. It was a pretty good read. I remember enjoying it.

And a PR rep who sent a few of her clients’ books. She’s gone, too. Sweet lady. Miss her.

A couple of publishing houses, small press, who would ask if I was interested in their authors. YES. Still owe them a few reviews, even with one no longer active, but their authors are and I will get those reviews to them.

And the authors who keep trusting me no matter how long I take. Thank you for your trust and patience.

Didn’t expect to travel memory lane when I started this post, but here we are, a glimpse down my reviewer path. It’s been fun. The stories have entertained me and their writers…some are now friends. But, we know that line between friends and author/reviewer, it’s about mutual respect.

Some of you may know that a little over two years ago I didn’t know if I would be back, but here I am. Hope you stay with me for the next 25 or more years…the path ahead looks mighty interesting.


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