In case you're wondering "Ms." stands for "manuscript." And the 79-year-old judge is my dad! My dad (I generally call him "Pa") reads a ton -- but mostly just newspapersand legal documents. He hardly ever reads novels, except for mine! The funny thing is that though he is not exactly a "young adult" (the audience for whom I write), my dad's inner teenager is still alive and well.

Anyway, Pa started reading the manuscript last night over dinner at my house. When I heard him chuckle during Chapter One, I thought that was an excellent sign. And then he phoned at 10 P.M. to say he was already up to page 60. Yippee!

Pa had some legal work to do this morning, but he says he'll finish the manuscript by the end of the afternoon -- and that he already has a few suggestions for me. In the mean time, I've been lying in my hammock on the back balcony, still delighting in Louis Sachar's latest book, The Cardturner.

Here's a quote from the book that I thought you might enjoy, dear blog reader. (You need to know the story revolves around the game of bridge and that the president being referred to is U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower.) Here goes: "The president, who had been a World War II general, believed that the same qualities that made him a successful leader also made him a good bridge player: judgment, patience, decisiveness, and most importantly, the ability to think clearly and plan ahead.".... This quote gets me thinking about those qualities... and I wonder whether writers need them, too. Patience, for sure... and the ability to plan ahead, definitely. I'll have to ponder the rest of the list.