Welcome to the Virtual Backyard Book Club!

dianeHi!  I’m Diane Henders, author of the Never Say Spy series. Welcome to an informal get-together in my virtual back yard!

Grab your favourite beverage, pull up a comfy chair, and join us in the Virtual Backyard Book Club (VBBC) while we gab about the Never Say Spy series.  There’s also a Recommendations page where we swap information on other books we enjoy (because there’s nothing better than a towering to-read pile)!

Other random topics might come up, too.  Like all backyard parties, you never know for sure where the conversation will go…

(Note:  If you’re not seeing large navigation buttons on the right-hand side of your screen, please widen your browser window to make them appear.  Sorry for the inconvenience – I’m using a WordPress theme that isn’t being very cooperative.)

*Spoiler alert*

We discuss the entire Never Say Spy series so if you haven’t read all the books yet, be forewarned:  There will be spoilers!

* * *

How It Works:

I’ll post a new discussion every Wednesday, and you’re welcome to comment as many times as you like on the current discussion or any previous one.  I’ll check in a couple of times a week, though I won’t comment frequently – this is a reader-driven club.  If you have specific questions for me, pop them into the “What do you think?” box under the discussion.

All the ongoing discussions are here, and a list of upcoming discussions is here. Feel free to suggest new discussions any time – there’s a submission form on the Discussion List page.

Guidelines:

I feel incredibly lucky that my readers are intelligent, thoughtful, respectful people. If you’re joining us for the first time, here’s how we keep it fun for everyone:

Any opinion is welcome as long as it’s backed up with evidence or examples.  E.g. “Stemp is a jerk” isn’t useful, but “Stemp is a jerk because (fill in reason)” is a great springboard for discussion.

It’s perfectly acceptable to diss the story or the characters.  It’s never acceptable to diss anybody who’s not fictional.  E.g. “I hate this character and s/he should be killed off because (fill in reason)” is fine, but “I hate this character and anybody who likes him/her is an idiot” is not only NOT fine, but it will also get your comment (and possibly you) removed from the book club.

Digressions are always welcome!  Feel free to chat with other members, exchange recipes, whatever.  Let’s see how it goes for a while, and if we find that the book discussions are getting too sidetracked, I’ll create a separate ‘fun forum’ just for social interaction.

We are intelligent adults, not bullies or victims. We understand that typed comments are much harder to formulate and interpret than spoken words. We will always give each other the benefit of the doubt and assume that no offense was intended.  If one of us says something hurtful, we’ll apologize.  If someone apologizes to us for a hurtful comment, we’ll accept the apology with gracious forgiveness.

BUT…

We have zero tolerance for trolls.  I moderate these pages so everyone can feel comfortable expressing themselves. I’ll remove any abusive, discriminatory, or hateful comments without notice or recourse and I might permanently block the commenter, too, at my sole discretion.  And I’ll report threatening comments directly to the police.

If any trolls slip in, report them here and I’ll boot their asses right out of my virtual back yard.

Tips And Tricks

Keeping comment threads straight:  If you type a comment into the “What do you think?” box at the bottom of the discussion, it will create a new comment thread, which means your comment will be aligned with the left side of the page and will take up the full page width.

If you want to reply to someone else’s comment (or add something to a comment you’ve already posted), click on the “Reply” link directly underneath the comment instead of using the bottom comment box.  When your reply appears, it will be directly underneath the comment you’re replying to, indented from the left so that it’s easy to track.

Gravatars for easy commenting:  Each comment requires your name and email address, so if you’re going to comment frequently you may want to create a Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar) so you don’t have to enter your information each time.  You don’t have to use your real name or photo, but your email address must be valid.  Coming soon:  A link to instructions on how to create a Gravatar (it’s not complicated).

Copy/paste to prevent your comments from being eaten:  Unfortunately, WordPress eats comments sometimes.  It’s infuriating when you’ve typed a long insightful comment only to have it disappear into cyberspace, but unfortunately I have no control over that.  The best workaround is to type your comment into a word processing program and then copy the finished comment and paste it into the comment box here.  If you’re a PC user, you can use the keystroke combinations Ctrl-C to copy and Ctrl-V to paste.  On Mac, it’s Command-C and Command-V.  (If you haven’t used this technique before, here’s how:  Click and drag to highlight/select the text in your document, then hold down the Ctrl or Command key on your keyboard while you press the C key.  Switch to the blog and click in the comment box so that you can see the blinking cursor.  Then hold down the Ctrl or Command key while you press the V key.)

Remember, it’s public:  You’re welcome to reveal any personal details you want, but keep in mind that these posts and pages are open to the world via the internet. If you want to keep your conversations private, it’s safer to take them offline.

Sign up so you don’t miss anything: You can drop in and comment any time even if you don’t sign up, but if you want to get an email each time a new discussion is posted, sign up for the book club notifications by clicking the Follow button at the bottom of the right pane.  (The link in the notification will take you directly to the discussion instead of sending you to this page.)

You can also stay on top of the discussions by checking “Notify me of new comments via email” – the checkbox becomes visible under the “What do you think?” box when you submit a comment.  (Note: You’ll need to do this for each discussion you want to follow.)