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beta--gillie rhodes

Photo credit: Gillie Rhodes

If you’ve spent much time at TheSubwayTest, you know that I have a novel coming out this year. And as I’ve learned recently in my mystical journey into novel publishing, finding readers for your first novel is an adventure in self-promotion. With that in mind, I’d love to find some beta readers for the book here in the forest of fantasy & science fiction blogolalia.

If you like fantasy, if you like young adult lit, or if you just like me, I’d love to send you a pre-publication draft of the manuscript. Young adult and tween readers are especially welcome, though I would like to find a few adult adult readers (i.e. old adults) as well. What’s Stranger Bird about? Well, without giving away too much, it’s the story of a young misfit who is summoned to the service of a great and distant emperor. On his journey, the boy is awakened to his own gift, the talent for understanding the speech of animals, and he comes into contact with many who would use his abilities for their own ends. Yet after arduous travel, the boy arrives at the capital and the emperor’s palace, only to find that the land is held together by a dark secret. How the boy navigates this secret marks his passage from the powerlessness of childhood to adult realization, to the knowledge that, of all creatures, only people can choose what they become. As I say elsewhere on this blog, “The book is an homage to the fantasy authors of [my] youth—Ursula Le Guin, Richard Adams, Lloyd Alexander—and a nostalgic look back at the dark and mythical tales of an earlier generation.”

What’s in it for you, you may well ask? Precious little, but maybe something of value to some of you: your name in the Acknowledgments section of the book, an opportunity to influence the development of this story, a chance to see Stranger Bird before anyone else does.

If you’re interested, you can give me your name and email address by clicking on this link. I will send a draft copy of Stranger Bird to up to 20 people that volunteer. The file is an MS-Word file–feel free to append comments or turn on “Track Changes” to make your suggestions.

Some of you know that I’m a community college English teacher and an old school grammarian–don’t let that scare you away from telling me about things in the book that aren’t working for you grammatically, syntactically, punctuationally, characterologically, or otherwisely. It’s impossible (for me, anyway) to write an 85,000 word story without making some mistakes. My editor, the estimable Ann Eames, has already found a lot of them. But she and I both know there are more.