Dear Readers:

I have been reading other blogs getting the feel of this writing life. I am surprised no one talks about being in a critique group. I recall going to my first writing seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona and listening to a number of speakers extoll the virtues and values of joining a peer reading group to share pages with and get back subtle recommendations to change, shorten. lengthen, or maybe start all over. One of the claims to fame this local Romance Writers’ chapter had was the recent success of Stephanie Meyers of teen vampire fame. So if that was the key to success, I was all for it.

I was pleasantly surprised to be invited by a member of my writing class to join a group that had a recent vacancy. It was a bit daunting to realize four sets of eyes and critical brains would be reading my pages. This group had tried several meeting venues and had found that restaurant and shopping mall meeting accommodations didn’t work very well. Too much noise, interruptions, and pacing security guards with suspicious looks on their faces. So it was on to private homes. I arrived early for my first meeting (my usual modus opperandi) at a beautiful townhome located behind the closed wrought iron barriers of a gated community. I punched in the magic number and the fence opened obligingly. I drove slowly between clusters of hacienda-style mansions. No speed bumps were necessary here. I squeezed my sixteen-year-old Ford Explorer into a notch between closed garage doors and ventured to the specified entrance doorbell. Following a ring calling from deep within the residence, the peephole, a very large opening covered with a filagreed security screen, opened and the hostess for that evening unlatched the door. I stepped inside. The plot thickens.

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