Tag Archives: religious fiction

Indie Authors: Do You Need a Test Reader or Book Reviewer?

I’ve beta-read for several authors. I provide comprehensive beta-reader reports on all aspects of the writing.

I’m interested in multi-genre novels (three have included a faith-oriented adventure/thriller; a faith-oriented time-travel romance; a sci-fi romance); and I’ve done a Sherlock Holmes spin-off mystery. I’ll be especially pleased to see historical fiction, Boomer-Lit and other novels centered on mature protagonists, and fiction that features characters with physical or psychological disabilities.

I’ve also done medical topic consulting for the author of a murder mystery/thriller. My Registered Nurse education, experience and extensive textbook library can provide factual, consistency and continuity evaluation for any physical or mental health issue.

In addition, I’m a scholar of the First World War (restricted to the British and German aspects), and of everything Irish: history, culture, geography, wildlife, weather, agriculture, politics, psychology, religion and whatever you’re having yourself. I’ll also double-check miscellaneous facts from any period for historical novels.

For Beta Reading ONLY: I can accommodate digital manuscripts in formats supported by the Balabolka Text-to-Speech reader: AZW, AZW3, CHM, DjVu (DjVu+OCR), DOC, DOCX, EML, EPUB, FB2 (FB2.ZIP, FBZ), HTML, LIT, MOBI, ODS, ODT, PDB, PDF, PRC, RTF, TCR, WPD, XLS, XLSX. Be sure to send your manuscript with plenty of lead time before a response is needed, because when I Beta read, I double-check irregularities I hear during an audible text reading by doing a screen reading of that passage, and I can screen-read only for short time periods, due to a visual disability that makes screen reading difficult and uncomfortable over long periods of time.

I’ll provide reviews of published books, too. My reading taste is generally eclectic, with favorites in literary fiction, historical fiction, and faith-oriented fiction (primarily Roman Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, Judaic, and Latter-day Saint). I’d like to see more multi-genre/fusion fiction works, and I’m willing to take a chance on a genre I don’t usually read if the blurb and a sample chapter are intriguing.

For Book Reviews: Bound, printed books preferred. This is because the above-mentioned visual disability, and when I’m reading for a book review that will be published worldwide, I need to be able to both relax and concentrate on the story for long periods. I will provide a mailing address for you to order and ship a copy of your book. If I choose not to retain the book in my personal library, I will donate it to my public library.

You can suggest your manuscript or book in this response form:



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Which of These Books Have You Read?

(Comment in “Light A Fire Here”)

shunmagdalenetranslatorsunsnarcissusbredenun's storykeysthe cardinalo the brave musicrobepeony


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What’s Your Genre?

Urania - Astronomy

Urania – Muse of Astronomy

As with the old hippie salutation, “What’s your Sign?” this question is not as straightforward as it looks.

In Western astrology, a horoscope may be complicated by a birth on the “cusp” (like mine). Furthermore, you have to account for the sway exerted by the moon and any stray planets that are hanging around.

But that’s only one system of star-gazing in a world where people have been staring at the sky on clear nights and joining up the dots every-which-way for millennia. What if you also factor in Chinese reckoning, Hindu astrology, and the Mayan calendar?

You might wind up with a work of genre fiction, that’s what.

As genre fiction goes, Irish Firebrands is über-formulaic, in as much as it involves, to varying degrees, four of the five sources of conflict: Man versus Self, Man versus Fate, Man versus Nature, and Man versus Man. (The only conflict that doesn’t happen is Man versus Technology.)*

But in what genre does all this conflict occur? Since the story takes place in 2007-2008 and all but one of the most important characters are in their late-40s to early-60s, that puts the book in the category of “Boomer Lit.”

But exactly what genre is it? Inquiring minds want to know!

Writers seem to be expected to pinpoint their genres. Agents and publishers state their genre preferences in an effort to prevent their desk tops from morphing into The Slush Pile that Ate Manhattan, and indie authors need to supply a genre for their self-published tomes to be listed appropriately by distributors.

But rather than playing a simple game of “Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?” Irish Firebrands engages in the dodgy pastime of “crossing genre lines.” At last count, there were a half-dozen.

The basic story line is “Boy Meets Girl,” which is one of the Big Three plots (the other two being, “The Little Tailor” and “Gains the World but Loses His Own Soul”). That makes the book a romance, because developing a love relationship is its main focus.

Now the fun begins.

Irish Firebrands tells a love story, but unlike simple storytelling (which just relates observable goings-on – as in, “See Dick run. Run, Dick, run!”), the reader is also privy to the often pathological thought processes of the two point-of-view characters. This makes it psychological fiction.

The behavioral psychology of the main characters is bound up with their religious experiences, making Irish Firebrands inspirational fiction.

The main and secondary characters are also larger-than-life personalities with mysterious pasts. This makes their story a melodrama.

Finally, there’s also something … strange … about the setting – a down-at-the-heels Irish farmhouse – that makes what would normally just be an inanimate object in the landscape, emerge from the background like a character with its own personality and back-story. This infuses the novel with a paranormal motif.

This means Irish Firebrands is a Boomer Lit Romantic Inspirational Paranormal Psychological Melodrama.

So, what’s your genre?

* The protagonist of Irish Firebrands is a middle-aged woman, but I’m one of the old-school types who likes the simplicity of the ancient usage of employing the word “man” in the neuter sense when making generalizations. A pox on political correctness.

(Art by knightstone, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.)

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