Thank you Jan! I had a sneaking suspicion that I was starting to become overly critical and even cynical about everything I read now
I read the book "Self Editing for Fiction Writers" and while it has a lot of great stuff in it, they do tear a story apart, word by word (disclaimer: the book "Self Editing" has objectionable content I blacked out with a pen
). So now when I see "was, that, had been" or the author says anything more than once, a fire alarm goes off in my head.
The novel is "Blood Sisters" by Melody Carlson. For some reason, this particular line bothered me - "Suddenly a pair of wildly yapping dogs ran up." Maybe because the action came so abrubtly with nothing to introduce it but the word "suddenly".
Anyway, thanks for taking the red out of my eyes so I can now relax and enjoy the story. See, you're teaching me again!