I write for fun. I find it cathartic and it lets my creative side wander into places most others’ would dare not journey.
When I self-published two books, I had decent reviews; they were never professionally edited or copyrighted. I can imagine my many grammatical errors–I’m cringing thinking about it. I just wrote about telling my story about hearing loss and coping with dizziness all day, every day.
I’ve gotten used to it now. People say, “You walk pretty good for a person with a balance problem.” To that, I say, “Yes, I do! I’m a professional at it. I just don’t have a title or the pay. Now, would you like to see me juggle as I walk?”
When I decided to write a third book on complete different subject matter–every short story has a different subject matter–I felt different about it. Even though these stories were still my own personal experiences, it was a time capsule of sorts. It was important to me that it be well written and justifiably preserved. This is in contradiction to my body which is not aging gracefully, but acting like a teenager who is in a hurry to grow up and get on with the rest of the end of my life. You start looking like old produce that’s been sitting in the back of your refrigerator for two weeks; still in the plastic bag.
I wanted this book to be copyrighted. I wanted it to be professionally edited. I also wanted it reviewed by professionals.
Most would hesitate at the idea of having your work professionally critiqued, but if I was going to go this far with it, I needed to have the conviction in knowing I could really have a shot at being a pretty decent writer. The only way to attain that professional confidence was by receiving reviews from those who do it for a living.
I’ve received over a dozen reviews thus far from people who have read my book, Angry Birds and Beehive Hair. When I read a review, I smiled. I smiled because I’ve made someone laugh, think of fond memories, snort (another form of laughter for which I’m a professional; and no, I don’t get paid for it), cry bittersweet tears and cause others’ to look at their behavior on a train, plane or automobile.
Yesterday, I received my first formal review from Blue Ink Review. When I saw the email, my heart skipped a beat. This was one of three formal reviews I had been waiting for; the first one my eyes would glance at.
My first thought was, shit–it’s finally here.
My second thought was, this is what I had been waiting for. Read it and weep, or read it and scream (in a good way, and not like a serial killer is standing over your bed sort of way).
This is what I read:
“Sometimes a collection of short, humorous observational essays are just what the doctor ordered. Author Nancy Chovancek has honed her craft with two previous books; her third, Angry Birds and Beehive Hair goes down like a pre-dinner cocktail.
(pssst…I love the pre-dinner cocktail anecdote).
First things first: The title has nothing to do with the computer app. Chovancek describes in one short piece how her Italian mother wore a beehive hairdo that inspired neighborhood birds to attack and try to claim it as a weekend nest. Other essays poke fun at conference call etiquette, the perennial pleasure of last-minute Christmas shopping at the mall, and family foibles.
Chovancek is at her best when she tells personal stories. Living with Meniere’s disease, deafness and severe vertigo have presented her with challenges she meets with great humor. Her phrasing can be spot-on, too, as in a story about skydiving: “Honestly, I loved the concept of being videotaped, but the result is not one bit flattering. I don’t care how thin or muscular you are–your skin is going to be flapping around during your free fall like a pair of your grandma’s panties on the clothesline during a tornado.”
Fans of Lisa Scottoline’s nonfiction who can’t wait for more will appreciate Angry Birds and Beehive Hair. It’s lighthearted but feisty, and girded by powerful family love. Chovancek is a good ambassador for her health challenges, always human but gifted with great attitude.” – Blue Ink Review
And, there you have it. I screamed a happy scream.
Most importantly, I’m happiest with the fact that I believed in myself. “To thine ownself, be true.” – Hamlet.
Yeah, yeah…I know. It’s only ONE official review. But it’s my first one and I’ll take it with grandiose applause and a bow so deep, I wrenched my back.
I’m waiting for two more; fingers crossed!
If you’re interested, you can buy the book here. Please feel free to leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Don’t be nice–be honest.
Thanks again for everyone’s support!!!