Writing a book is the easy part. During the first draft, you can put down anything you want. Then you have to clean it all up through a series of editing rounds. One of the early rounds involves getting people to read your book. These ’Beta readers’ give you insight into how other people might approach or engage with your story. Beta feedback helps you reshape your book during a developmental edit round so that gaps are closed, lapses in reason are fixed, and missing information can be added. Their critiques help you cement your story, smooth out the flow, and fix any glaring errors.
One of my Beta readers is Jen. She was one of three women who changed the course of my life in 1999, by convincing me that my shoulders would be wasted if I didn’t play rugby. I trained for six months in an East Village gym and Alphabet City park with the coolest group of women I’d ever met. I loved tackling, ran fast and had zero talent catching the ball, so I ended up flanking. Jen was second row, so in the scrum, she was one of the women I’d bind onto as we pushed against the other team for possession. We reconnected during our 20th anniversary Village Lions tour in New Orleans just before Mardi Gras in 2020. It was the last trip I took before the pandemic shut everything down. Here’s a little window into the fun we had.
The first story anyone ever purchased from me was about why women play rugby. I got a job in Europe performing for Boom Chicago soon after, and was asked by a German website to blog about that. When I returned to America in 2003, I got a job as a writer for a travel and arts magazine, and that started a whole new career path for me.
Last week, I received this awesome letter from Jen.
Well as I mentioned in email I was culling through old keepsakes and found this print—and I immediately thought of Sekmet and your book!
I must have bought this in Belgium when I was back packing over 30 years ago!! And loved and saved it—clearly for this moment.
Hope all is well!
Lots of Love,Jen XOXO
How cool is that? I love hearing from people who have read my books. Have you read SONG OF LYRAN? I’d love to know the thoughts and associations you had reading it! And if you find images or art that remind you of the story, please share them!