Reader’s Choice

The Virtual Backyard Book Club is four months old now, so I figured it was time to see how we’re doing and ask for your ideas.  Let’s brainstorm, and I’ll implement your ideas and add your topics to the to-be-discussed list!

What topic(s) would you like to discuss?  What would you like to change about this forum?

25 thoughts on “Reader’s Choice

  1. I have been enjoying things as is, but am open to changes. No ideas from me though on changing the forum, sorry.

    As for ideas to discuss, we have had enlightening discussions about the main characters but what about the side ones (although we did talk about Blue Eddy). Other ideas…the bad guys or the bad organizations, the whole virtual stuff, Aydan’s background (more then meets the eye?), thought on being an asset, Up and Coming…to name a few things we can bring up for discussion.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow 4 months already, time fly’s it really does.

    Like Lauren said I wouldn’t change anything. Looking into some of the others and maybe the bad guys and fuzzy bunny.

    But I’m happy to discuss anything really

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hm. Tough question. Dunno what changes I could suggest. I’m enjoying it as it is. I’d like to see more participants and more back-and-forth, of course, but coercion and kidnapping would raise some sort of flags, probably.

    Still lots of stuff to talk about though. Laurel nailed it. The secondary characters are fair game. And why limit things to existing characters? Invent new ones, why don’t we? How about some medium-heavy speculation with regard to potential plot twists? Some preemptive Easter eggs, so to speak? You know, something to justify the existence of the new characters who could be pulled out of, er, thin air, so to speak, and plugged into our ‘what-if’ scenarios.

    Too weird? Dunno, not my call, but if it’s doable, I’ll toss it out as a suggestion. If y’all like it, great. If not, it certainly won’t hurt my feelings. (I mean, really. I used to teach high school, okay?)

    I’m curious about something, though. On her website, another author mentioned that she does not publish comments about her future works from her readers or even seek suggestions about upcoming books in her series for reasons of legality.

    I haven’t looked into the subject at all, but the only thing I can think of that might be a ‘legal’ problem would be a fan who, say, demanded compensation or at least credit for a piece of a plot. Is this even a thing? And if so, is it something that we need to stay away from? Thoughts?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well if there is anything legal to be encountered I hereby recind any legal claim to a tall leggy blonde about 38, who would be happy spending the night with Hellhound, even if it meant she came to a sticky end at the hands of Aydan.

      A girl can dream

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Sadly, it’s absolutely a ‘thing’, and while I enjoy listening to people speculate about future plot twists, I also feel uncomfortable with it because sooner or later odds are somebody will speculate the very thing I’ve planned. Then when I write it, that person could theoretically point a finger and go, “Hey, that’s my idea!” despite the fact that I’d thought of it long ago. Ugliness ensues. So I’d rather keep it to discussions about the current books as much as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Understand completely, and it’s all off the table. Not a problem, and thank you for the information! I’ll have to remember that. For someday. Whenever. Maybe.

        And apropos of nothing at all, I just signed up for a 2-and-a-half-day writers’ seminar here in town. On the entry/application form, there’s a blank to fill in if one opts for the one-on-one critique session with a published author. It asks about the length of the work to be submitted. I answered something like ‘1,150+ pages, 550,000 words and counting.’

        I still haven’t heard back from anyone. Dunno why. If they didn’t want to know, why did they even ask? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. This just in! I got an email a little while ago from one of the event organizers. She wanted to know the genre of my work. I replied and asked for specifics on the submission. No reply yet, but it’s a start. 😜

          Liked by 2 people

          1. A rapport has begun, which is good. Nifty neat on the writing seminar and your writing. There is a major writing workshop where I live that lasts 2 years, been a little too intimidated to try it but it always peaks my curiosity and has a maybe one day attached.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Laurel, go for it. No kidding. Do it. Just pile in and don’t look back. You won’t be competing against the others, you’ll be learning with them and from them. Go for it.

              Besides, you won’t believe how much fun you’ll have. Trust me on this. I’ve thought about starting to write something for years and blew it off. Now I wish I’d caved in and tried it. It’s a GAS, Laurel!

              For me, it finally came down to not being able to get a particular scene out of my head. It wouldn’t leave me alone. I dreamed about it night after night. So I finally just fired up the laptop and spewed it out.

              It was sort of comical at that point. I just stared at the screen after the last sentence for some indeterminate length of time and thought, “Now what?”

              So then the thought popped up, “Okay, what happened before that. And what happened after?”


              That was a thousand pages and half a million words ago. More, now.

              You’ve got AT LEAST one story to tell. So pick a place and start. Any place at all. It really doesn’t matter in the least.

              I wouldn’t steer you wrong. You’re wasting time. But no pressure. 😇

              Liked by 2 people

            2. @Laurel, if you enjoy writing, I hope you’ll keep doing it! The workshop may feel a bit too intimidating now but the more you write, the more confident you’ll get, and soon you’ll be ready to take the next step.

              Don’t be afraid to experiment – every word you write is valuable even if you ultimately edit it out. It’s all part of the process of finding your writing method and ‘voice’, and you don’t have to write a full-length novel. Short stories and snippets are achievements worthy of pride, too! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

          2. The lady who will be critiquing my work emailed last evening, introduced herself, and asked me to send her my first thirty pages. I blitzed it right back to her. Never gave it a thought at the time, but now I’m getting a little nervous. Maybe more than a little nervous.

            Okay, so let the freak-out begin! Oh, wait. Haven’t I heard that somewhere before…? 🙂

            (And this is coming from the guy who just yesterday explained plagiarism to a class full of guys who enrolled in a technical, hands-on major so they wouldn’t have to worry about that kind of crap anymore. It’s always something.)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh, there’s nothing worse than the first time you send pages out for a critique! I was a wreck even when I first admitted to Hubby that I’d written a book and handed it over for him to read. (And I was pretty sure he’d be kind, since he still has to live with me. )

              But it’ll be okay, I promise! Any kind of criticism, even the most constructive kind, stings like hell at first. Take a few deep breaths, go do something else for a while, and after a week or so you’ll be ready to look at it objectively… kinda… ish… 😉

              Liked by 1 person

      2. hey….my idea for a skinny dip with Tom is totally FREE!!!! I’ll just be honored you thought it worthy of a write!!!! LOL

        PS.. I hate people who try to glom onto others success….wanna-be’s!!!! LOL

        PSS (or is it PPS???) I love how the VBBC has been going….love chatting about the books, love reading others perspectives….willing to follow along with any changes or happy to just chill rolling along!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Understandably. I remember in school when given a writing assignment and then the teacher had you read an example of the exact writing assignment…anything I thought of after that had some resemblance to the sample because thats what was in my head. Hated that and the ‘need more original ideas’ note attached. Sigh.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I totally get that. But that was then, and this is now. Lesson learned, right? Don’t look back; look forward into the story that’s already lurking somewhere in your creative places.

          It’s in there. Turn it loose.

          You’ll thank me after you’ve won the Best New Author award from the local Rotary Club. Or your first Nobel Prize.

          For my part, if nothing at all happens with my stuff, it’s still been time very well spent. Gad, writing is fun!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I agree 100% writing is fun. Writing little snippets, stories, and somethings that just need to be spilled on the paper (or screen) is relieving actually. And I am at a place in my life that time is more and more mine and less family. Your words of encouragement are not falling on deaf ears but will have to put them in a box for a short while longer. I will, however, be sure to make a call out to Some Random Guy and his pompoms when I am standing up there accepting my award.

            Keep us posted on your writing…and I’ll keep a space reserved on my bookshelf for a copy of your best selling novel, signed of course.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I promise you that if you actually want a copy, I’ll sign it for you! And you’ve got witnesses! And I know about life getting in the way. But sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.

              I’ve planted the seed (and totally belabored the point), so my work here is done. Rock on.

              Liked by 2 people

  4. I’d like to discuss why so many Serius Dynamics personnel have gone to the other side. Of course Aydan needs bad guys to fight, but that’s why Fuzzy Bunny is there along with the occasional terroristic para-military group hanging out near a commune, a few mercenaries, along with some sexual predators and nut jobs playing in a stockade.
    But we’ve been treated to Sandler, Mercer, Smith/Doychevski, and Archer as well as almost all the Knights. That’s a lot of good guys gone bad.
    I’m leaving out the good husband who “went rogue”, because his badness only included trying to keep Aydan far away from the people who intended to use her even if she wasn’t willing. His rogue behavior wasn’t about enriching himself nor were his traitorous actions meant to purposely harm his nation.
    Is there something wrong with Serius deep down that makes good guys not just go bad, but turns them into traitorous murderers? And what’s up that anyone on the good guy side would ever think it is okay to kill off an asset when their usefulness is no longer valued? Why would Kane agree to do that kind of killing? Why would Aydan accept that sort of death?
    We don’t need to conjecture these things today or in what’s left of the week, but in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting discussion here! El Tea, you’re right – I should have been clearer about Sirius and its function. My idea was that the original Sirius was owned by Sam and the Knights, and that’s where the root of the corruption started. The Department and its clandestine activities are and always have been separate from Sam’s original Sirius Dynamics even though they now occupy the same building.

      Once the Knights began their sneaky activities, they necessarily brought themselves to the attention of the Department (the whole ‘sharing information’ concept) as well as other less savoury groups. So when the Department made the decision to establish a base in Sirius’s building, they inherited the corruption along with the classified technology. Stemp’s headache as the latest Director has been cleaning up that mess, and the full extent of it became apparent when Aydan showed up.

      You’re absolutely right that a normal person wouldn’t simply accept that they would be killed when their usefulness as an asset was over… but Aydan isn’t a normal person. Her first marriage programmed her to believe that it’s her duty to sacrifice everything, even her own life, for others. She’s fighting her programming for all she’s worth, but when the situation is phrased as “It’s your duty to die for your country”, her knee-jerk reaction is to accept it without question. And death isn’t an enemy to Aydan – she has prayed for it fruitlessly many times as an end to suffering. It’s not necessarily desirable for her anymore, but it’s certainly not as objectionable to her as it is to most people.

      As to Stemp’s kill order and Kane carrying it out… well… that’s another Easter egg… 😉


  5. Hadn’t considered the ‘turncoats’ before, but my early impression is that the roots of their betrayal would have begun in the previous administration, so to speak. Wasn’t Stemp brought out of the field and promoted to Director because of the mistakes and poor leadership of his predecessor?

    Strong dissatisfaction with one’s senior leadership can account for lots of, well, responses, for lack of a better term. More than once, I’ve quit jobs because I could no longer stand to work for the moron in charge. When one is ‘locked in’ to a job, ones’ options become severely limited.

    Look at the Sirius Dynamics Agents. Clearances beyond most concepts of Top Secret. One can’t just say, “You’re a jerk. I’m sick of working for you, so I quit!” and just walk out the door. Disgruntled agents? Just walking away and getting a job selling nuts and bolts at the local hardware store? Can’t happen.

    Impossible situations cause people to break, and that ‘breakage’ can take many different forms. Hate your boss? Can’t quit? The pressure builds, of course, and continues to do so day after dreary, wretched day.

    So what happens, then, if someone, some really sympathetic and understanding someone, offers to buy you a drink at Blue Eddie’s after yet another long, really crappy day of being used and abused by that rat-bastard boss of yours that you cannot escape? A couple of drinks, a little sympathy, a little understanding…

    That is exactly how double-agents are born. Think about it. That, I think, would explain at least some of the ‘leakage’ at SD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That explanation makes a fair amount of sense, but I would hope that even if you hate your jerk of a supervisor that you have a lot more backbone that would keep you following your own moral compass, especially when it comes to treason and murder.

      Liked by 2 people

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