OK. I’m not going to start this post with lame excuses about why I’ve been so remiss when it comes to updating this blog, nor get all bent out of shape with self-inflicted guilt or verbal self-flaggelation … NO.

Instead I’m going to tell you that there is a very good reason why this space has seen such limited action lately.

(And it’s not just because I spent most of August lounging on a beach in eSpain.)

The reason I’ve been so crap at updating this blog is because I have spent just about all my free time this summer working on a novel.

And now it is finished.

It is called Unraveled and oh, it is so hard to say what it’s about. I know I should have an elevator pitch ready, and I sort of do, but of course it’s not a proper work of literature unless it has layers and facets and symbolism and truth, and epic themes like freedom and independence and self-discovery and courage and betrayal and even sex. Which it has, and all of which is very hard to cram into a two-minute elevator pitch.

But for what it’s worth, here is the TWO MINUTE ELEVATOR PITCH

Unraveled is a novel about Freyja, a young Icelandic woman married to a dashing British diplomat who has just been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iceland. After living abroad for more than a decade, Freyja returns with her husband to her home country in 2008, just months prior to Iceland undergoing the most catastrophic economic meltdown in history. Against a backdrop of a society that is falling apart, Freyja and Damien’s marriage unravels. With their two countries locked in a serious diplomatic crisis, private truths unfurl and dark secrets are exposed. Finally, Freyja must decide where her loyalty lies and what her conscience will allow her to choose, if she is to stay true to her convictions and remain truly free.

… Something to that effect, anyway.

The manuscript has gone through a bunch of revisions, it’s received a lot of great feedback, and I’m at the point now where I’m just about ready to give it wings to fly out into the world. And so, without further ado, let me say that I am once again looking for … BETA READERS.

Being a beta reader means that you graciously offer to read over the manuscript and to give me your feedback. There’s no pay, and unfortunately I can’t offer to reciprocate in kind, much as I would like to, due to time constraints. Your reward would be my undying gratitude, an expression of my undying gratitude in the acknowledgements section of the book, plus a copy of the finished product – in whatever form that turns out to be (those ruminations being a subject for another post).

Some of you may remember that I asked for beta readers to help me out a couple of months ago with the Icelandic Folk Legends book. I got a wonderful response, for which I was truly grateful. I also learned some valuable lessons. First of all, I must ask you – if you would like to volunteer – to please understand that this is a full-length manuscript, meaning 75,000 words, or thereabouts. That’s not terribly long, but it’s not all that short, either (it’s about 200 pages, double-spaced, with a 12 pt. font). Please do not volunteer to be a beta reader unless you are really committed to reading the book, and preferably if you can read it in the next 2-4 weeks. Really. Please give that some thought before you get in touch.

And on that note, perhaps you would like to read a sample before you commit. Or even if you don’t want to be a beta reader … you can read the sample anyway. You can download it here. It will take you to the e-junkie site (which I use to sell my eBooks) and you will have to input your name and email, after which you’ll receive a download link. And if you’re the least bit concerned about submitting your data, please don’t worry – it only gets attached to my account, and it’s safe with me.

Finally, I’ll be asking beta reader volunteers some fairly specific questions to get the most effective feedback. I’ve scouted around  a bit online, and the most clear and succinct beta reader questions I’ve found are here. So expect them to be similar to those, or even exactly the same, shamelessly filched from that site.

I do hope that at least some of you will want to help out with this project. (If you do, please email me, rather than leaving a comment). I’m pretty excited about it, and look forward to sharing the book with all of you in due course. Takk!

UPDATE: As before I had a great response and a substantial number of volunteers, so that I had to undertake the unpleasant task of picking and choosing. At any rate my beta reader request has been fulfilled. To anyone else who wished to volunteer – thank you for your interest, maybe next time!