When everyone decided to read aloud.

trenchcoat party. Just a quick note: I had so much fun at the trench coat party at Made in Bridgeport last night. (Want more photos? Check my author page on Facebook.)

Despite the heat, people did actually arrive in trench coats (and my mother showed up, dressed like this photo of Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote. QUALITY.)

There was even a party game in which a noir stereotype was taped to everyone’s back and people had to figure out who they were by asking each other yes or no questions.

I came up with the list of stereotypes, with the help of the folks on my Twitter feed, so I take full responsibility for this:

harlot

Sorry about this.

My favorite part of the evening came during the reading. It was a small crowd (thanks, heatwave!) so someone suggested that instead of me doing the reading, we should all take turns reading a paragraph from The Eagle & The Arrow.

Now, when I read, I get self-conscious. All sorts of things go through my head: Did I just skip a word? Does it work better with the skipped word than it does on the page? Did I mean to use the passive voice there? I wonder if I’m boring them. I wonder if my publisher would let me re-write that bit. Maybe I’ll just skip it. I can’t wait to get away from this stool/table/podium. I’m thirsty; I need water. No. I need wine. NO. I need whiskey. Is it ten minutes yet? Did my voice just crack?

Because I know I will do this, I choose short readings. But as a group? We went through the whole first chapter, (some of us using funny voices.) It might have been the first time I’ve ever heard someone else (10 other someones, actually) reading my work aloud, and it was amazing. I could hear my own story, being read to me. Suddenly, I was no longer self conscious, and, actually, a little emotional.

Anyways, it was a great event. I have a couple more scheduled this summer (one tomorrow in Mystic, CT and one I’m confirming for next month.) But none of them will match this one, unless the whole audience decides to pick up a copy of the book and read aloud with me.

Book: launched.

Eagle and the Arrow, book, author

I did a little reading in a big room.

Last night was the launch party for The Eagle & The Arrow at Fairfield University in Connecticut. It was incredible. In fact, I’m still recovering.

Fairfield University let me throw the party in the lobby of the Kelley Center, and 50 people from so many areas of my life came to celebrate. People actually came in from out of state for this, including the wonderful reviewer Ally of Word Vagabond, who drove seven hours to join us, half the staff of Geek Eccentric and my amazing editor N. Apythia Morges, who not only drove for hours, but helped us set up, break down, introduced my reading, urged people to rate my books online, and took all my photos.

Speaking of which, I have many, many photos to share. Check this album on my Facebook page to see them all. If you were there, feel free to tag yourself!

If you missed the party and wanted to come, no worries. I have an awesome event coming up: A Trench Coat Party.

That will be happening on Thursday July 18 at Made in Bridgeport in – you guessed it – Bridgeport, CT.

I will be writing more about that soon.

I interviewed a LOT of people for The Hour. And now The Hour has interviewed me.

This is just a quick post, because I’m very excited about this article.

My old newspaper, the one that employed me for almost a decade, wrote an article about me and my book. How cool is that?

Maybe I shouldn’t be this excited. But for a long time, being an Hour reporter was a big part of my identity. I sent (what seems like) millions of emails to potential sources, starting with “Hi, my name is A.J., I’m a reporter for The Hour and I’m wondering if you are available for an interview…” Sometimes I wondered what it would be like to be interviewed myself. So, to get one of those interview inquiry emails from the paper I worked for, and from the person who actually took my position when I left, was kind of amazing.

Anyways, check out the article, by Leslie Lake of The Hour Newspapers. It made my day.

Author Tamela J. Ritter gives me my very own g-chat interview.

I’ve been doing g-chat interviews for slightly more than a year now. Thus far, I’ve interviewed lit mag editors, bloggers and other authors. I like using g-chat as a chat format. It takes a little longer than a phone conversation, but it’s easier to reproduce as a document online. Also, it’s pretty hard to misquote someone in a g-chat script.

Well, last week one of the authors I interviewed a few months ago  – my friend Tamela J. Ritter - turned the tables on me by giving me my very own g-chat interview. It was a lot of fun to be on the recieving end of the questions this time.

She’s posted the completed interview here, on her blog. Check it out.

A list of the links that have been posted to The Eagle and the Arrow, so far.

The Eagle and the Arrow is released today! Links to the book are trickling in.

Here are the links that have been posted so far:

The e-book, on Amazon

The paperback on Amazon

And let us not neglect Barnes & Noble, which has the e-book on NOOK

The e-book on Smashwords.

I’m waiting for the publisher’s website to post the book as well. Also, check it out on Goodreads (another giveaway – this time of The Eagle & The Arrow –  is happening soon.)

We have a winner! My protagnist has been named!

In a week, The Eagle & The Arrow will be released.  With review copies out already and with Amazon’s uncertain release dates, I cannot keep this secret any longer: the year-long naming contest has been ended and the nameless protagonist in Beware the Hawk has been named!

Who won? What’s the name already? Hold your horses, kids. First, let me dish out a little background:

About a year ago, when I first began to gather and organize my notes to write a sequel to Beware the Hawk, I realized that I had a story-telling problem. As I wrote on this blog at the time:

My book, Beware the Hawk, features an unnamed protagonist, because I really love not naming first-person narrators. Which works well sometimes but not always.  It worked well for the original novella, but what if the character were to appear in other stories? She won’t be able to get through another storyline unnamed. I’ve been calling her Pink in private, but that’s not a real name. You know, like Jane, or Bob, or Ponyboy.

I needed to start work on what would turn out to be but Pink was simply not going to get through a new story without a name. And so I called upon my readers last summer to give her one. The winner would get to name Pink and get a signed, free copy of the next installment of her book.

There were many very special entries (including Devon Sharktopus) but these were the three finalists, chosen by me because I liked all three:

Vanessa Pye, submitted by Daisy Abreu
Hendrikke Penelope Brackensfeld, submitted by Beth Callahan
Harleigh McManus, submitted by Karen Morrissey Covey

Then I asked readers to vote for their favorite names. And like Zarathusra, they spake thus:

The winner is…

Continue reading

The first review of The Eagle & The Arrow has been posted!

The book itself won’t be released until June 11, but the first review for The Eagle & The Arrow has been posted, and I am thrilled.

Please check out So, I Read This Book Today and give the review a read.

So, I Read This Book Today is a brand new book review site run by Leiah Cooper, a lover of books and a fellow knitter. (She also makes quilts. She’s a woman of many talents.)

Her review of The Eagle & The Arrow made my day. Here’s one part of the review that made me squeal and do a happy dance in my office:

If your interests are the smart, the funny, the snide and the thoughtful, don’t miss this little book. It is a true gem of Modern Americana with a twisted mindset that has me looking forward to going back and reading the first book, as well as look forward to anything Ms. O’Connell writes next.

I cannot convey you how happy this makes me.

This is the part of the blog where I admit to being a gigantic coward when it comes to reading my reviews. I’m always nervous when I send out the review copies, but I’m much more nervous when a reviewer emails a link to me and tells me that his or her review is live. The first time I read any review of my work, I look at it through my fingers, while holding my breath, like a kid at a horror movie.

This is why I set my five bad reviews goal this summer. That way, when I get a bad review, I won’t be quite so disappointed, because yes, I will be getting a bad review, but I will also be achieving a goal.

Thankfully, I’m not on my way to that goal quite yet. This review was so good, and so thoughtful that it made my day. You can check it out the whole review here.

If you want to see more from Leiah, check out the sidebar. I am adding her site to my Links section.

I want five bad reviews this summer

Five bad reviews of either of my books from people I don’t know. That’s my goal for this summer. I told my husband this last week and he looked at me as if I’d sprouted an arm from the top of my head.

I do have a good reason for wanting five bad reviews: if I don’t get any bad reviews, not enough people are reading the book.

This doesn’t mean I’m eager to read a bad review of The Eagle and The Arrow. And it doesn’t mean that I want more terrible reviews than good ones. No one likes a bad review. But no bad reviews are almost as bad as no good reviews, I think, because that means only my friends are reading it. Though I treasure my friends and want them to read my work, I also want to reach readers of all kinds.

And if I reach a wide enough group of readers, I will find the haters. Not everyone is going to love my work, I know this. I mean, look at Amazon. There are people, alive and dead, who hate The Great Gatsby, Pride & Prejudice and The Fellowship of the Ring, so there are definitely people around who will hate my work. This summer, I want to get my book into enough hands that I find some of them.