For the first time in a year or more, I remembered that I have an author page on Amazon and went on to see how sales were going. There were a bunch of really nice, positive reviews of my books, and I feel rather bad that I never noticed them when they were first posted (months ago) so that I could reply to the kind people who wrote. I doubt they'll see any comment I leave them in return on Amazon at this late date. So here is a general "shout out" to say thank you for the encouragement and compliments, and I hope you are reading this blog so you know your reviews were appreciated! I even appreciate the person who declared they couldn't stand reading Desperate Measures because the characters were too quirky. (Funny, several other people used that word too, and said that was why they enjoyed the book! I guess you can't please everyone, and different people have different preferences. Which makes all of us a bit quirky, I think.)
When I first joined the Mississauga Writers' Workshop years ago, it took a while to get used to receiving criticism. I had to learn to separate myself from my writing and not take disparagement as a personal attack. There really is a lot of value in criticism, and every comment - positive or negative - has helped to strengthen my writing over all. The trick is to evaluate each comment to find the useful truth within it and then learn from it. If they're negative, you can grow from them. If they're positive, you can soothe your sometimes-bruised ego but hopefully not let them go to your head. No one ever reaches a point where they can say they have "arrived" and have nothing further to learn.
My husband teaches bagpipes to seventeen students. He tells them right up front that they'd better learn to enjoy the journey, because there's no destination. Even experts who have been at it for years and years are still just on the journey, just further along the continuum than the rest of us. There is always another step to take.