I belong to a critique group I've been attending for more than a decade now. I used to attend weekly, but it's been more "not" than "often" lately due to necessary life changes. The first time I went, I introduced myself to these four lovely ladies and handed them my AMAZING mid-grade novel which they...tore it to shreds. With four lovely smiles. I went home thinking they were the most terrible people I'd ever met. It took me a couple of weeks to muster up enough courage to go back and try it again. Now, I expect and adore their criticism. If they don't give me enough, I'll hand my story back to them and tell them I need more. No, I'm not a glutton for punishment, I just know that I need their input. I've learned to treasure it. And they're more than my critique group. They're my friends.

One of the women in my group has had four of her YA books published. She tells us that she spends a lot of time reading current publications and watching current television shows as research for her novels. I already read way too much, but it's mostly literature that's more than 50 years old. So I've been getting out of my comfort zone lately and reading more contemporary novels interspersed with my Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edmund Spenser. I read some things I enjoy very much and some I enjoy not as much.
I've also started watching more television online (Hulu, CWTV, Fox, and ABC) and as a result, I've discovered two new television shows I think I might love. They are "Awake" and "Touch." They are both puzzle shows, which I adore. One was recommended to me by a friend, and the other I found quite by accident.
"Awake" is about a detective who lost either his wife or son in a car accident depending on which reality he wakes up in that morning. He has different therapists in each reality and works different cases, but sometimes there's an overlap between realities and the watcher is left wondering what is real and what is a dream.
 "Touch" stars Keifer Sutherland. He plays the father of an autistic boy who sees the world through numbers. The boy has not spoken a word in his life, but communicates through cryptic patterns. Once interpreted by his frazzled father, his messages help stop sometimes catastrophic - sometimes minor events from happening. So far it's been a great show. I'm interested to see how it holds up.
Starting May 1st, I'll be writing another novel in 30 days. This one will be a Winesburg, Ohio-style collection of grotesques set at a university. It's going to be different from anything I've ever written before, so I'm exited about it. I have five days to lay down the ground work and next Tuesday, the madness begins. My oldest son will be joining me this time, working on a novel of his own. He's been waiting not-so-patiently for me to be ready. Well Jaed. I'm ready.
Blog off.