You seem like a reasonably good writer: for 30 bucks a year, what the hell.

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Now THAT is the kind of begrudging compliment I can take. I'd apologize if I bit a little hard and fast when you suggested FREE NOVEL, what with 80 pieces to choose from on Substack but I don't believe in Sorrys. Thanks for hanging in. May I suggest the following pieces :

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Excuse me, but you mean grudging (or perhaps half-hearted, or best of all, tepid), not begrudging.

Sorry to be a pedant, but you're a writer, you have to get words right.

Watered-down? Lukewarm? Insipid? (No, insipid is insulting, which you didn't mean to be.)

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