I’ve just finished beta reading for a friend. It was a great story – it even had me reading one afternoon when I was stuck on another task, not something I can remember doing in a long time – so in all honesty, there were few tracking changes to suggest, and it didn’t take long to give my overall comments. Requests for reviews and to beta read are at a bit like buses – nothing for sometime, and then four or five come along at once – usually when you have even more on your plate than usual. Not that I’m complaining because if all goes to plan, in the next few weeks, I shall be asking nearly all of them to beta read and/or post a review on Amazon for me.
Every month or so I review a book for Mystery People magazine. The reviews are considerably longer than those you tend to find on Amazon and Goodreads so they take more thought but it’s a great way to find new authors I may not have come across before. I’ve gone on to read nearly all the books of at least four or five authors I might not have found any other way. The list of twenty plus books comes out twice a month so I usually find something that might interest me. If it’s a name that I’ve not come across before I go to Amazon and use the ‘look inside’ facility. It’s bad enough to have to struggle through a book I can’t take to let alone have to write a positive review – though it’s always possible to return a book to Mystery People if that happens. Beta reading a bad book can be even more of a torture which is why I never agree to beta read for someone I don’t know. I’ve been bitten that way before now.
At the moment, I’ve living life at a hundred miles an hour and desperately playing catch up. I suppose it’s partly the contrast to the beginning of the year. When we were still in lockdown, the pace of life stilled almost to a stop. No gym classes, no line dancing, no Tai Chi or Yoga, never mind cruises. Our monthly writers’ group did get going again by zoom but often with only three of us. I could give the new novel my undivided attention and progress was great. I thought there might even be a chance of getting it published by the end of summer.
Once life began to get back to normal and classes opened up again, my mornings disappeared. Then the cruise ships came out from being mothballed! In a normal year, I aim to do three lecture cruises, but they are usually spread throughout the twelve months. In three weeks, I’m off on my third cruise this year. I’m still working on my presentations – thankfully with a little tweaking, I can reuse a couple that I did on the previous cruise. Three cruises in four months is definitely not what I planned but I’m not about to turn them down. Another case of waiting for buses – no offers for two years and then a sudden rush including an offer that came a few days ago to run writing workshops on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal along the coast of Central America and Mexico disembarking in Los Angeles in December. I was quite excited about it for a whole twenty-four hours until reality kicked in. Sadly, I couldn’t accept it. Because we went to Iran in 2019, it meant even though we were not actually stopping in the US, we needed a visa. Travelling to London and all the rigmarole it entailed wasn’t the problem, but the American Embassy couldn’t guarantee a visa appointment before Christmas.
On the plus side, leaving just three weeks after we were back from Greece would have been too much. Realistically, I have no chance of getting Peril in Persia out in the wider world by the end of the year but taking out 22 days at sea plus sorting out the workshops would have delayed things for at least another month.
Peril in Persia is still with my editor – not that I’m in any rush to get it back as I have to reduce one of my presentations from 59 minutes to under 45 and make quite a few alterations to another. Nonetheless, I’m still looking for beta readers. Several people have got back to me already, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few more. Any offers?