Monday, February 28, 2011

New Friends, New Beta-Reading

Recently, Pendragon Variety had its first twitter chat (Tuesdays 9-10pm EST #pvpchat), and through that I was honored to talk to many of our listeners who are also other writers. It was totally awesome! Of course, "Friends" is a strong term for any one I've just met, but it made the title sound cooler. The point is that through social networking, I've just met numerous writers who might someday work on a project with me, or beta read for me, or at least re-tweet my blog posts. I love meeting other writers because you never know who will help you with what, or who you might help.

Now, you may have noticed that I used that obnoxious phrase, social networking. The phrase is obnoxious because it's used by many different people to mean many different things, but for every one I think it at least means this: not living under a rock. To me it further means making real connections with some of the people that you meet when you step out from under your rock. Real connections don't necessarily mean becoming best friends, but it does mean that you both give and take. You put out your writing, but you also read other people's. You respond to their questions. You pass on the things you enjoyed to others in your network. You ask so-and-so if they'd be interested in one of your projects, and you don't throw a hissy fit if they say no. In other words you treat people like people, and you yourself do not act like a mindless twitter bot.

And you Beta Read. Beta reading is an exchange unique to writers that requires both the writer and the beta reader to put themselves out there. Feelings might get hurt and miscommunication might abound. But hey, we're writers, so we can handle miscommunication, right? Right? In all honestly, I've rarely had a problem with beta reading, from either end. In fact, I'd like to mention a few of the authors I beta read for. Proof, after all, that I do not live under a rock.

David Barron - I met David Barron through twitter/Pendragon Variety and read his short story An Aesop Admist the Fairy Dust which you can find on Amazon. In fact, you can find the story and others by him for purchase in several different places, so I'll send you to his blog where you can find links to them all: An Aesop Admist the Fairy Dust is about poor Hard Luck Charley unknowingly trying to run his pizza shop in the middle of fairy mob territory. That's right. I said fairy mob. This one is definitely a comedy, and many of his other works have at least a touch of comedy to them.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt - I learned about Bryan Thomas Schmidt through the Pendragon Variety chat and fell immediately in love with the premise of his space opera novels. The first, The Worker Prince, is scheduled to come out this year. The second, The Returning, I'm delighted to be beta-reading. His writing blog is

L. "Scribe" Harris - Scribe is the editor of Pendragon Variety and an old high school friend of mine. I've been beta reading her epic fantasy, Markmasters trilogy, and I'm always biting my nails waiting for the next chapter. Visit her blog at

I've also done beta reading for authors who aren't yet ready to announce their projects to the world yet, but I can't wait until they are, so I can post about them here! Now to get back to beta reading...

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