Honestly, you don't get many days like this in publishing. Days when someone sends you a link to a new review which you follow somewhat hesitantly, hoping that you'll be able to excerpt a decent quote, hoping you'll be able to send happy news to the author, instead of the 'sorry they didn't really get your book' email. Days when you start reading the review and they really seem to like the book but by the time you've finished reading the review it's justified just about every decision you've made in the past year. No, that doesn't happen often. So when it does you gotta celebrate HARD.
(Thanks to Deanna Lepsch for this photo)
In the early days of RDSP I let moments like this go by without too much fanfare. I didn't know it could be months, maybe years, before another such moment came by. You probably guessed that I had just such a moment this morning when I opened an email from PopMatters, a site I really respect for their smart and energized coverage of all things pop culture. After having had a couple bad reviews lately I was trepidatious, yet hopeful, that this one would be good. Choosing books to publish isn't easy and some bad reviews can shake your faith. But this reviewer obviously saw the same things I saw in Hellbender:
"Miller doesn’t shy away from death and violence—Hillbilly or no—the book is definitely horror, but not stilted Hollywood horror. It’s well-written, character-driven horror. The setting is often beautifully described. The characters are complicated and capable of the unexpected. There’s even gender equality—both men and women kick a little butt—men usually with guns (or tree limbs, rocks, ax handles, etc.) and women primarily with magic... And it gets bonus points because I can’t remember the last time I read something like it. Let’s face it—in the 21st century, originality isn’t always easy to find."
But it was the reviewers assessment of Jason Jack Miller's path to publication that really blew me away: