Writing in a Void: Why Reviews Matter

I live on a creek. At any time during the work day, I can turn from my computer and look out over the expanse of water and refill my beauty-hungry soul. Granted, today it’s all slate on slate with the gray broken by splashes of white, because even our shallow body of water can form whitecaps when the wind pushes hard through the creek’s mouth.

Toward the west
Toward the west, clouds but no wind

But even with the beauty, even with the blessing of marriage to a best friend who encourages me (as does my dear mama who has been my cheerleader forever), writing can be a lonely pursuit. I mean, husbands, children, mamas, and good friends are supposed to support us, aren’t they? So you write, I write, and we send our words out…

Will they touch anyone at all? Will our book(s) be found? Be read? Be loved–or hated?


Will our words hover or land gracefully?




We shouldn’t be so insecure. But I don’t know a single writer/artist/musician who sits in a void, untouched, uncaring.

We care. We care.


Open Book

Which is why readers who leave reviews are so very, very important. You nurture the place that remains wary in every writer. No matter how many books we publish, no matter how many accolades we receive, there’s always the fear that this time, no one will care. This time, no one will want to read our story. This time, the void will swallow our words. iStock_000002803956XSmall


With that fear real in my heart, I have waited for reviewers’ words.




And then these first reviews came from the TLC Blog Tour (still ongoing):

Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews: “…Part romance, part mystery, and all fast-paced, this novel is a fabulously spun tale that will reel in the reader and keep them hooked to the very spine-tingling end…”

Patricia’s Wisdom: “…An excellent read…”

Queen of All She Reads: “…Part literary romantic suspense and part coming of age story, Ms. Fischer’s story grabbed my attention from the first page.  Likeable characters, good dialogue, an intriguing mystery and just the right amount of tension, kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.  If you like exotic locations, good food, and romantic suspense, this is a book you won’t want to miss….” [Emphasis mine!]

Redhead with Book :  “…This story will keep your heart thumping…a fast-paced, believable and intelligent read…”

Reading Is My Superpower: “… Two From Isaac’s House reads like Southern fiction but is very much a novel of international intrigue. You will want to curl up with it and absorb the delicious way the writing lilts across the page, but at the same time Fischer’s command of international suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. And then there’s the new romance and the new friendships – sweet in a way that wraps you in an old & comforting quilt but never so saccharine that it makes your teeth hurt. In a book that could go political in a heartbeat, the plot stays just outside that line and instead whispers a few subtle hints toward the spiritual that both surprised and touched me with their presence. Normandie Fischer’s latest book is definitely a dichotomy of genres, but I loved the result!

“The author’s writing style is so beautifully descriptive (without over-telling) and immerses readers in the scenes – the sights, the smells, the sounds, the emotions.  Wry Southern humor subtly peppers each chapter, providing delightful relief in the midst of suspenseful tension.  Fischer’s words lilt in a pleasing meter that, as I mentioned earlier, makes you want to curl up and settle in….”

And from Romantic Times Magazine:




I am so grateful. Grateful for the time to write. Grateful for the friends my writing has given me. Grateful that I can, from the isolation of our creek house, travel the world, share tea or coffee (or even a glass of wine) with new friends, and be part of something that feels so like a gift from God.


Would you consider becoming part of my community of reader-friends? If so, will you send me a note and let me know? If you do, I’ll certainly return the favor with a reply.

Reaching out. Touching hearts. Getting to know strangers. Finding common ground. Becoming friends.

light in trees


Encouraging one another to be a light — or to find the light — in the darkness.

I look forward to hearing from you!





The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: A Review

Have you ever noticed that some friendships require work? You really like her, but sometimes your smile seems fixed, because she’s just so complicated. Her world has so many hills and valleys. Fine, yours does, too, but they’re yours, after all, and her issues remind you of the times you didn’t quite make it all the way to the top and over. Or the days when the valleys felt as if they extended for hundreds of miles.

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier isn’t a fun book. As Kate reads Elizabeth’s journals, she works through her own issues in this character-driven fiction. There’s little fluff, few hoots of laughter—and those only from moments when I could say, oh, yeah, been there. You know, the embarrassed hiccup that morphs into a laugh and then finds itself stifled by a hand covering the open lips?

That’s what the author has done here: forced me, the reader, to contrast the characters’ experiences with my own. To dig a little deeper into motivations. When Kate examines truth—how much Elizabeth hid about herself and how much she, Kate, has also hidden and misunderstood—I remember bits and pieces of my own history. And I consider larger issues of truth and lies, of comfort and remorse, of the known and the unknowable.

The thing is, our life needs both the easy, relaxed friendships and the hard-earned ones, the stories that we read with laughter and sighs and the ones that make us stop and think, ones we set aside momentarily as we wrestle with the emotions they evoke. Nichole has done a fine job of creating characters worth knowing—fully developed and rich.

Yes, the Kindle version is pricey. The thing is, I bought the book because I read a blog post by Nichole and wanted to know her. In recent months, I’ve clicked Buy on so many freebies and under-three-dollar bargains that have barely kept my interest through chapter three. Books that vanished under the Delete key. And it’s been a very long time since I’ve bothered to review a book.

But this one is worth the time to read and to critique. This author has crafted hard-to-love characters who have crept in and found their place as friends. Friends who’ll stick around in memory as they challenge me to deeper, better, more honest relationships. And isn’t that the best one can say about a book, any book?

According to Nichole Bernier, a family friend’s healing following the September 11th attacks inspired this novel. Visit her website to learn more about her extensive writing career. Fortunately for us, her readers, she’s at work on her second novel. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you with questions or comments.

I’d love to talk books with you. If you’ve read others that stimulated the responses I’ve mentioned, books that you remember long after you’ve finished reading them, with characters who have forced you to dig a little deeper, please leave a comment. Next week, I’ll pick one commenter to receive a free copy of Nicole’s book. (Kindle preferred so I won’t have to foot the shipping cost!) Yes, readers, a freebie. Aren’t I sweet?

(You may wonder why I’m giving away a book from an author I don’t even know. Well, here’s my rationale. Nichole writes high-caliber women’s fiction. That’s my writing goal. So, if you like Nichole’s, I may be able to entice you to buy mine when it’s available. See, sneaky as opposed to sweet. A method to my generosity. I mentioned honesty and transparency in this post, didn’t I?)