Another call for beta readers

Well I’ve reached another milestone – I’ve ‘finished’ my third novel Teaching Mr Leavis and I need some beta readers to take a look at it for me.

The reason for the inverted commas is that I feel there’s still a long way to go before I publish it. Yes, I know that’s what beta readers are for, to help you get to the stage where it’s ready, but to me it’s a lot less ready than my previous novel Reunion of the Heart was when I sent it to beta readers.

So that you know a bit about it, Teaching Mr Leavis is a romance set 20 years ago in a fictitious English city. The heroine is a newly qualified teacher who’s just started teaching at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 year olds in case you’re unfamiliar with the British education system!).

I deliberately set it 20 years ago because that was when I was at secondary school and I felt I just don’t know enough about schools today to set it in the present. Technology especially has changed and I wanted it to be authentic, so I thought it would be better set in the time that I remember.

Anyway I just want to add that this version of Teaching Mr Leavis that I’ll send out is very much in the early stages. I’m sure there’s a whole lot that whoever’s reading it will want to comment on and suggest improvements on. It’s not long, less than 60,000 words, but there is a lot that needs work on. I just need some advice and I’ve got to the point where I feel I can’t do much more on it on my own without some other people’s suggestions.

Thank you for reading this and if you’re interested, I look forward to hearing from you.

My email address should you wish to get in contact is: elaine (dot) jeremiah (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks for your time! 🙂

A lift home

Hi all. Hope your week’s gone OK so far. I’ve been doing all right. I’ve made some progress with Teaching Mr Leavis  and I’m beginning to have at least a vague sense of where I want the story to go and how it’s going to get there. Thank  you all for your advice re first drafts – it was very helpful to have my instinct to stick with the first draft until I’ve finished it confirmed.

So for today I thought I’d share with you 10 paragraphs for the month from Teaching Mr Leavis. This scene takes place about a page on from where last week’s excerpt finished which you can read here. To see the excerpt before that go here.

In this scene Rebecca has left the club and is making her way home when she hears someone call her name. When she realises who it is her heart sinks…

‘Mr Leavis,’ Rebecca replied, her voice coming out as a groan. She didn’t care if he noticed. He walked up to her until he was standing only a few feet away. The dull orange glow from the streetlamps didn’t give her much light to see by, but nonetheless Rebecca got another good look at Jonathan Leavis.

She had to admit to herself – albeit grudgingly – that he wasn’t a bad-looking man. He was tall and had a good figure. His hair was almost black and, although short, wavy. His striking eyes were the same colour. She surmised that he was in his early forties, though he was one of those people whose age was indeterminate.

He cut a powerful figure, although he seemed a little worse for wear tonight. Maybe it was just the poor light. But he looked almost a little haggard to Rebecca, and she wondered how often he went to his club, how much he’d had to drink.  

A half-smile was on his lips; his expression was friendly enough, but Rebecca really wasn’t in the mood to have a verbal sparring match. Feeling a wave of fatigue hit her again, she cleared her throat and tried not to sound hostile as she spoke.

‘Mr Leavis, what do you want? It’s late, I’m tired and I need to go home.’

‘Would you like me to take you home?’ Jonathan asked her, giving her direct look that made her feel as though he could glimpse her soul.

Rebecca said nothing, just gawped at him. Had she heard him right? Was that really the parent from hell, Jonathan Leavis, asking her if she wanted a lift home? He has been drinking, she reminded herself, shaking her head to try and clear it of confusion.

‘I’ll take that as a no then,’ he said, pursing his lips and beginning to turn away.

Rebecca thought quickly, weighing up the pros and cons. If she went home with Jonathan she’d have to put up with his questions and general talk. Also he would see where she lived, another downside. But if she chose to get a taxi home, she’d have to wait a while for one to turn up – they weren’t all that frequent in this part of town – and it would be expensive.

‘Wait, Jonathan,’ she said, wincing as she realised she’d used his Christian name without meaning to. He turned back; she saw a half-smile creasing his lips and silently berated herself for slipping up. But she swallowed any biting comment she would have liked to make. ‘Yes, I would like a lift home, thank you.’

WIPpet Wednesday is open to everyone who would like to share some of their writing on their blog. If you want to join in, just post some of your recent writing on your blog. Ideally it should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this.

K. L. Schwengel is our lovely hostess. 😀

Review of ‘Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1Well this is a new one for me.  This is the first time I’ve posted a review of a book I’ve read on this blog.  Or any blog for that matter. And this book certainly is a good one to have for a first review. Though technically I’ve written loads of reviews of books I’ve read. You can read many of them on Goodreads.

I’m doing this as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Challenge, where a number of authors have donated their books to be sent to readers, who choose one of the books, in exchange for an honest review.

I chose to read Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler.

So here’s the review.  It’s a really good book, so take a look (no rhyme intended lol).

An intriguing twist on a well-known historical saga

This book was a slow burner for me. I felt it took a while to get going, in terms of the action unfolding. But once it did the story pulled me along and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I thought the idea of updating the story of Henry 8th and his six wives to modern day Britain was ingenious. The story begins in the seventies when Harry Lanchester takes over the running of the family business when his father dies. Tyler goes on to tell the tale of Harry and his succession of wives and mistresses in a saga which spans four decades. Tyler depicts the passing decades with accuracy and nothing ever felt anachronistic as I was reading it.

I thought that Tyler did a fantastic job in getting inside the heads of Harry’s love interests. All of the six women were completely different from each other in terms of character and disposition, and that helped to make the story move along quickly. I think the character who stood out for me the most was the updated Anne Boleyn – Annette Hever. I really felt that Tyler almost resurrected Anne Boleyn in the form of this modern character and she felt so real – I could easily understand how she’d taken Harry’s heart and then lost it again.

Harry Lanchester was equally believable and knowing a little bit about Henry 8th, I could easily picture him in my mind. He’s an equally likeable and ‘loathable’ character and I thought that Tyler mirrored Henry 8th’s character with that of the modern Harry perfectly.

You don’t have to know anything about history to enjoy this novel and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a gripping story with an exciting plot and memorable characters.