Emmie Mears
SFF. Queer AF.

WANTED: Very Helpful Person

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WANTED: Very Helpful Person

The crown of King Christian IV of Denmark, cur...

The Crown of Very-Helpfulness (Ignore the rest of this description) The crown of King Christian IV of Denmark, currently located in Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mentioned last week that I am coming up on my Must Have Shrike Edited So Querying May Occur Deadline, and it’s actually coming along fairly well. I’ve completed my first two passes and am onto the next, which is the texturing/deepening/oh-my-gods-why-did-I-do-this-to-myself/layering/analysing phase. Which is…happening.

I actually feel fairly good about this one, gentle viewers, but I need to make sure I’m not completely delusional. *Cough*

Which is to say, I need an outside opinion. A beta reader, if you will.

However, for this particular endeavor, I need a very particular kind of beta, and a rather specific list of task (sic) from said beta. While that sounds ominous, I promise I’m not asking for anything as strenuous as what I’ve asked from betas in the past (or what has been asked of me, for that matter). I’m NOT asking for pages of notes and in-depth analyses of each character or for you to fix typos (hopefully between spellcheck and SmartEdit, the latter will get fixed anyway).

My Shiniest, Fluffiest, Loveliest Beta Will:

-Read Shrike in its entirety and respond within one week with…

– Big general impressions. Did you laugh? Cry? Snooze? Set it aflame?

And that’s pretty much it.

I will ask you a series of no more than five follow-up questions, but as I’m not looking for a line edit here, I don’t want to stick lenses on your reading glasses and tell you what those are in advance. Basically, I just want to know what you think. The follow-ups will be things anyone who has read a book can answer about said book without having to reference exact page numbers.

As a reward, you get my undying gratitude and I will mention you in my book’s acknowledgments if erm, when it gets published. (Confidence, Emmie, confidence.)

The book is going to be between 250-275 pages in Word (around 80,000 words, which is a pretty standard mass market paperback size) once I finish the current draft. Just so you have an inkling of what you’d be getting into, here is the log line and short jacket copy-esque blurb.

A mid-level accountant accidentally drinks an experimental serum created to cure her boss’s daughter of terminal cancer.

Edinburgh accountant Gwenllian Maule wants her work recognized without incurring the wrath of her boss. Annamaria de Fournay rules their office like the psychotic Queen of Hearts, reeking of rosewater and threatening people’s heads. But when Gwen accidentally drinks a serum intended to cure de Fournay’s terminally ill daughter of pancreatic cancer, Gwen becomes the Queen’s primary target for a new reason — the serum meant to battle cancer has given Gwen superpowers.

With Scotland in turmoil and the referendum for independence creeping closer by the day, Gwen needs answers. And when one of de Fournay’s associates kidnaps the head of the Scottish National Party, Gwen is drawn into the political fray. With the storm spreading even to her parents’ Highland croft, the roiling battle between radical unionists and Scotland’s nationalists pulls Gwen into the center of a debate she’s long avoided.

Superpowers don’t make a superhero. Can Gwen figure out what does?

English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches E...

English: Autumn Red peach. Français : Pêches Español: Durazno cortado por la mitad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sound peachy? 

If it does indeed sound like the above picture in all its peachiness, do leave a comment and I will email you to arrange your Very Helpful Person status.

You do NOT have to be another writer to do this. You can be someone who likes superheroes. Or Scotland. Or me. Or you can be all of those things. Just be you, read my book, and tell me what you thought. The one thing I ask is that you do read it and get back to me within a week. 



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Author | Emmie Comments | 19 Date | August 26, 2012



I really wish I didn’t have school right now because I would totally volunteer, but unfortunately I can’t promise to get it back to you in a week 🙁

August 26, 2012 | 9:38 am


Yes please! I’ll be a beta, or even an alpha!

August 26, 2012 | 1:06 pm

    Emmie Mears

    WOO! Rock on. I will send out an email to all yous tonight. 🙂

    August 26, 2012 | 10:43 pm

Lironah (@Lironah)

Sure, sounds like fun.

August 26, 2012 | 1:13 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Huzzah! Can you shoot me your email address? (DM me on Twitter)

    August 26, 2012 | 10:44 pm


I like the story idea. I would love to offer, but I can’t see making the one week timeline with everything else I have on my plate. Good luck! And always say when – not if. 😉

August 26, 2012 | 1:30 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Hey, no worries! And thanks!

    August 26, 2012 | 10:44 pm


You needn’t twist my arm or anything. I’m certainly willing to undergo some more reading. I have heaps of time.

August 26, 2012 | 2:22 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Lurvely! Thanks, Larz!

    August 26, 2012 | 10:44 pm


Hi. I’m not sure if I’m a great fit for your novel. I know absolutely nothing about Scotland or accounting. I may not have even picked this up based on the blurb without a recommendation. However, I LOVE superhero stories. I am somewhat intrigued about the idea that it takes more than superpowers to make a superhero. (Very true statement – which I would love to see written well). I entered your EOW flash contest, but was ousted in the first round (which was discouraging) to the runner up (which helps me pretend it was just the luck of the draw). Anyway, you can check that out or the flash on my blog and see if I’m a good fit for what you want. I can certainly read 80K in a week and give you a general impression. I write primarily YA fantasy, but read a wide variety. Anyway, let me know if you’re interested in my opinion at this time. (BTW, I’m totally impressed that you wrote 55K in a month! I was super excited to hit 20K for NaNo last year! Great job!)

August 26, 2012 | 5:43 pm

    Emmie Mears

    I remember your name well! 🙂 And also, it should be said that I very much enjoyed your entry for EOW. (Used to live near Yellowstone, actually.)

    And honestly, I think you would be a great fit to read it, if for no other reason than to get a sense of how people who know not much about Scotland (the accountancy bit is sort of a non-issue; I certainly didn’t fill the book with figures and columns) feel about it. So if you want, I’d be happy to send it to you. I’ll be sending out an email tonight to people who replied as interested. 🙂

    August 26, 2012 | 10:48 pm


      Sure. You can put me on your list then! 🙂

      August 26, 2012 | 10:57 pm

        Emmie Mears

        Brilliant! I just sent out an email.

        August 26, 2012 | 11:25 pm


Good luck with this, Emmie. I’m sorry I can’t possibly meet the deadline but it looks like you are getting some good “takers”.

August 26, 2012 | 10:35 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Bua ha ha, thanks! 🙂

    August 26, 2012 | 10:48 pm


Oooops – lol – should I say it again?

August 26, 2012 | 10:36 pm

    Emmie Mears

    Hahaha…I’ve been getting a lot of double posts lately.

    August 26, 2012 | 10:48 pm

Eleni Sakellis

Hi Emmie, is it too late to get on the beta wagon? The book sounds like a fun read!

August 27, 2012 | 7:16 pm

    Emmie Mears

    It is not! I’ll shoot you the intro email I sent the others.

    August 27, 2012 | 9:25 pm

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