Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Dyerville Tales Blog Tour & Guest Post

Welcome to the 9th stop in The Dyerville Tales blog tour!  For a chance to win a signed copy of the book, simply leave a comment in response to M.P. Kozlowsky's guest post on criticism (please include an e-mail address I can contact you through).  For an extra chance at winning, tweet the link.  Make sure you tag me (@BlueSockGirl) so I can include your entry.  Good Luck!

Contest will close on Friday, May 9th at 10:00pm Eastern Time.

The tour runs through May 14th and is filled with author posts and giveaways, so check out all the stops!

For a compete list of tour stops visit M.P. Kozlowsky's blog.

About the Book:

Provided by Walden Pond Press:
by M. P. Kozlowsky

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline meets Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs in M. P. Kozlowsky’s The Dyerville Tales, a powerfully imaginative middle-grade novel that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the author of Juniper Berry.
Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.
Its unique voice and ability to combine creepiness with great story and character development make The Dyerville Tales a real standout middle-grade novel.

Guest Post:

Reviews As Seen Through the Fingers
Today, as I write this, The Dyerville Tales has been released into the wild – a book birthday as some call it – and already I am worrying about the reviews, scanning Google and Twitter for any mention and critique of my hard and deeply personal work.  Typically, writers are a sensitive bunch and, also, it must be said, somewhat self-destructive.  We know, regardless how wonderful the book really is, there will be people who dislike it, people who will absolutely destroy everything we sweated over for months on end in one small paragraph or maybe even in a short line or two.  And still we seek these reviews out.  There will be positive reviews too, a handful of glowing ones mixed in, but these are merely placeholders of self satisfaction until the next negative review rolls along.  The negative ones are the ones that stick. 
            There has been talk about whether negative reviews should even be written anymore, with some authors refusing to take down another because they know the ill effects it may have.  There is the constant advice among writers to avoid Goodreads and Amazon reviews at all costs.  And I get that.  I completely understand it.  I just won’t be able to heed such warnings.  At least not at this point in my career.  Not only will I check them daily, I will check them multiple times daily, multiple times hourly, a fool’s errand, some might say.
            But I believe in negative reviews.  I believe criticism is important to all art, and if my book gets torn apart in the process, so be it.  But I also believe in responsible criticism.  I believe in backing up opinions with examples and without resorting to simple attacks in the vein of, “This book sucks,” or “Boring, boring, boring.”  A critique cannot be properly executed in less than one short paragraph.  There should be a deep sense of responsibility in writing them – wishful thinking, I’m sure.  I also don’t appreciate hastily assembled reviews, such as the one Kirkus issued for The Dyerville Tales (the summary was so off base that I am convinced the critic speed read the book, if at all, and this benefits no one; it is merely lazy and negligent).  There is no place for this in criticism.  Commit to the review or simply refrain from commenting.   
            For an author, much can be gained from a negative review; we can use it to grow, as long as the reviewer took their time to explain, in their opinion, what exactly went wrong and where.  It doesn’t mean they will always be right and their words should be heeded as gospel, but perhaps they shouldn’t be ignored either and the same goes for the positive ones. 
            Writers like to say they write for themselves, and in many senses we do, but we also write to be read, otherwise why release the books to the public?  We want to know what people think, we want people to love what we write, but we also open ourselves up to be rejected; and rejection is a terrible feeling and experience, but the best of writers thrive off it.  We feed off it and stew in that rejection and come away stronger and angrier and wiser, and it shows in our next work.  It’s when we give in to that rejection that the hack critics (not all critics) win, when we start to believe every carelessly strewn word and no longer just doubt ourselves but damn our abilities. 
            I’ll read the reviews today and every day after, and I’ll beam with pride at some and wince with pain at others, but I’ll still get back to writing, one word at a time, over and over again, until I have another book ready to prove the doubters wrong and the believers right, and then one more book after that and then one more and one more and one more….        

-       M.P. Kozlowsky, New York City, April 2014

About the author:

M. P. Kozlowsky is also the author of Juniper Berry. A former schoolteacher, he lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. Visit him online at mpkozlowsky.com

My thoughts on The Dyerville Tales can be found here.


  1. Like to read lower rated or negative reviews because a lot of 5 star reviews are not helpful (don't want to read a one sentence five star review saying best book ever with a ton of exclamation marks)
    Agree need examples of why someone liked/didn't like a book

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com