This totally made my afternoon: Books & Insomnia’s review of Beware the Hawk

Just a quick post to tell everyone that Julie over at Books and Insomnia reviewed Beware the Hawk. It’s a really good review. I might have danced around the kitchen when I read it. Check it out. Then check out the rest of Julie’s blog. It’s a really great site, and she must read constantly, because there is always new content up over there.

Thank you, Julie! And have a good weekend, everyone. I definitely will.

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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.

In which I beg for stars.

Not stars, as in masses of incandescent gases. Stars as in Amazon and Goodreads reviews.

Recently I’ve heard from a few fellow authors who have asked me and other readers to post reviews to the Internet. It struck me that I should probably be doing that, rather than just raving to them privately. Also, it struck me that I should ask my readers to do the same.

So, if you’ve read Beware the Hawk and liked it* please consider heading on over to my Amazon and Goodreads pages and rating it. Or even write a review. Especially write a review. My editor and publisher** at Vagabondage Press would love that, and I would too.

 

*or even if you didn’t. As a journalist, I’m a fan of free speech. Even though some free speech makes me cry.
** or as I like to think of them, the “evil overladies.”

You can’t read a review of your book when you’re standing in front of a class.

On Mondays, I have kind of a crazy schedule.

I do a lot of work from home during the day, and then I teach a three hour class in the evenings, so I almost forgot to look for  this review of Beware the Hawk from Brooke of Books Distilled.

Truth be told, I didn’t even see the tweet that announced the review until I was standing in front of my class this evening, teaching them how to use Twitter.

I clicked over to the Twitter’s Interactions page to show them the @replies function, and voila! There was this tweet from Brooke:

I saw that tweet and I was so excited,  but I couldn’t express that excitement just then, because I was trying to teach the finer points of hashtags.

It was torture not to click the link and read the review right there, because I’ve been nervously awaiting this review since the beginning of January, when I attended my MFA program’s alumni day .

This was just after my publisher told me that my release date would be Jan. 17, and that I’d better get cracking, and talk to some reviewers. I instantly thought of Brooke,  a grad school classmate, whose site, Books Distilled, has been posting reviews at a terrific pace since last April. At alumni day, I accosted the poor woman at dinner time, as she was headed to the salad bar, and asked if she’d be interested in reviewing Beware the Hawk.

I was a little nervous about asking a classmate to review my book. It’s always hard when you ask someone you know personally to do something like this, but luckily everything worked out. She agreed to review the book, she enjoyed the book and she even did an interview with me last week.

Please head over to Books Distilled and check this out. And then check back on Thursday, when Brooke posts our interview.

This review is the best kind of peer review.

If the analytics on this blog are correct, no one visits the blogosphere on the weekend, because they’re out in the world, experiencing real life.

That’s as it should be, but I’m posting on a Saturday night anyhow, because I just got a wonderful reader review for Beware the Hawk, and I have to share.

In the interest of full disclosure, the reviewer (one Ms. Tamela Ritter) is a good friend, a former roommate, and the member of the writing group that helped me refine the first draft of Beware the Hawk, way back in 2003 and 2004.

I can hear the critics groaning now:”Why are you even excited about this? Sure she gave you a good review. She gave you feedback on the first draft. She practically helped you write the damn thing, didn’t she? And then she lived with you, so of course she has nothing bad to say about you.”

First of all, let’s address the roommate thing: Do a survey of my past roommates and you’ll find that to live with me is not to love me. I can think of at least three people who heaved sighs of relief once my stuff (and cat) were moved out of their apartments/dorm rooms.

Second of all, I’m excited about this because I have so much respect for Ritter’s own fiction. Her style is effortless, yet epic. There’s this beautiful nostalgic feeling about America – both the land and the people – in her work. The open road, traveling,  and a search for self are huge themes in her work. Her prose is poignant, but accessable. Soon it will be accessible to everyone; her novel, (I believe it’s titled From the Ashes, although that might have changed) will be released  later this year.

That’s why I’m excited that she reviewed Beware the Hawk so favorably; Ritter is one of my favorite authors.

Wikipedia defines Peer Review as “a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field.” Ritter is certainly that.

This is the best kind of peer review.

Day three of the blog tour and my first review ever.

Day three of the blog tour takes us back to Wordvagabond, where I got my very first book review from the proprietess, Ally. I’m not gonna lie – I’ve been nervous about this aspect of the blog tour – knowing that your work is going to be reviewed is an exciting and scary feeling. It’s a little like having stage fright, except you’re home, on your couch, not on a stage you can flee, and the audience isn’t in front of you, it’s scattered all over the place. This review, however, gives me courage to face future reviews. Check it out.