Thursday, May 23, 2019

Beta Readers Wanted

Hi everyone! Devo Girl here. Sorry I am jumping in just this one time on a Thursday but I think no one has been posting on this day in a while.

I've been taking a break from Devo Diary to work on revising my historical novel. I wrote the first draft a long time ago, some of you may remember I posted it on fictionpress years ago. It's super long, but my goal is to self publish it on Amazon in three parts. Ruth Madison very kindly paid to have the first book read by a professional editor, whose comments were very helpful. I've finally finished revising based on that feedback. I think it's almost ready for publication but it would be great if anyone here is interested in beta reading and/or proofreading the first book. It's about 60,000 words or 200 pages.

The novel is about a blind man in Covent Garden of the early 18th century, which was at the time the center of both prostitution and the theatrical world. The characters are opera singers and whores, rakes and wantons. The genre is historical fiction, not romance. I did a ton of research and really tried to be accurate with the language. The style is very different from my other writing. I know it's not to everyone's taste, but I'm hoping at least a few readers here are into historical fiction.

I'm posting the first chapter below here after the jump. If you like it and want to beta read the entire first book, please message me. Thanks!

Thanks very much to everyone who read and commented, and especially to the many people who volunteered to be beta readers. You all helped me so much. The book is published now so I have deleted this chapter. Look for it on Amazon under the title The Adventures of Tom Finch, Gentleman by Lucy May Lennox.


  1. Hey there,
    thank you for your story idea.
    I have to admit that I like both - a historical devy fiction and the idea of "recruiting" beta readers in here.
    Unfortunately I am no native speaker, so I am out of the game.
    Just wanted to give you heads up for your mission.
    Best of luck,


    1. That's ok, thanks anyway! If you have any feedback on the first chapter, please let me know here. Thanks!

  2. Hi DG, I am so hooked!!! I love historical fiction, and tales of theatrical and street life are a particularly favorite niche. This is already delicious: Mr Finch is just my type (siiiigh), and I can’t wait to find out more about his disreputable life (plus all the theater-company gossip possible, please). Great scene-setting chapter.

    I would love to help out with beta-ing, although it would help to have more of a sense of the scope of feedback you’re looking for. Please feel free to email me if it would be easier to discuss the details that way. Thank you for sharing this opportunity!

    1. Hi Rowan, thank you so much!! Your comment made my day :) I'm happy to give you more details and send you the whole thing but I can't access your email here. You have to email me at devogirlfromparadevo at gmail dot com. Please write!

  3. A very intriguing beginning! The extract was engaging and the setting in an opera house gives one endless opportunities to build up intrigues and plot twists! :) I can't help it but it reminded me of Sand's "Consuelo" which was my long-time favourite!
    I remember having read the first version you had uploaded - you have changed the beginning, haven't you, or I don't remember it correctly? :)
    You said that it isn't a romance but historical fiction but there will be some romance included too, right? :) For example between Tess and Tom? :)
    Unfortunately I wouldn't qualify as a beta-reader as English is not my native language.
    However, I will definitely buy the book once it's out! I admire you for choosing a different era for your blind hero as depicting him accurately in the 18th century context might have been rather challenging. For example, you have me already wondering how Tom learned the whole score of the opera. Did anyone play different parts to him and he memorised everything? :) Also, I'm intrigued about how he navigates his world. He seems to be an outgoing person which means that he may not have troubles asking for help but on the other hand, he might be an easy target to all kinds of bullies.
    What is more, I love the contrasts you've created in his character: on the one hand, he deals with music, which pure and heavenly per se, and the way how you contrast it with his supposedly rakish manners. Also, I remember it from the first version that he was rather poor (and you hinted it here as well: fancy clothes but worn) and lived alone which contrasts with him being in the centre of a theatrical production and artistic admiration. This adds a layer of vulnerability to his character which will definitely pull some heart strings. (And here I can't help it but compare Tom with Mozart in Forman's film Amadeus)
    So I'm very much intrigued and looking forward to the book!

    1. Wow, thank you so much! I did revise the first few chapters extensively on the advice of the editor. I can't believe you remember that much detail!

      To answer your questions, I drew the details on how Tom gets around from some real people, namely James Holman and the composer John Stanley. Look them up! The biography of Holman titled "A Sense of the World" is really good.

      I get more into how Tom learns the scores later in the book but in the opening scene, since the opera is a revival he had already heard it performed many times.

      There will definitely be romance, I'm just not following the typical genre rules for romance novels. Thanks so much for reading!

  4. I think it a lovely beginning. It has interesting characters and you set the stage well.