Second Collection: Title Announcement, Betas Wanted

As most readers of this blog surely know by now, back in 2014 I published a collection of my poetry, both in paperback and on Kindle. Some of you may also be aware that I’m currently working on a second collection. I have one item of news about this project, and there is one part of it with which I would like the help of some of my readers. Continue reading


“A Feline Supplication”

Each Friday I post one of my poems.

O cat—stranger—why do you only speak
When all within your house have sought their beds?
Why do you, as the evening waxes dark,
Avoid affection from your visitors,
But then, once all save I have gone away,
Demand attention when I wish to sleep?
Why shun all laps in waning afternoon,
Then jump into—invade—a sleeper’s couch?
I know, I know, the nature of a cat
Is to inquire, investigate, inspect
All that is new within “all she surveys”
And love the cool and dimness of the night,
But pity begs a tired stranger’s rest.

I wrote most of this poem while visiting some friends recently; they generously put me up for the weekend while I was there for a reunion of our group of friends. But their cat was … overly friendly … when I was trying to sleep, and (as cats generally do) considered anything she could reach a toy to be played with. The poem stalled a few lines from the end while I was there, so I finished it when I returned to it this week.

I always welcome your comments, critique, suggestions, or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work. You can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog; in particular, I’d like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.

First readers wanted!

Most of you know that I’m an aspiring author of fiction and an occasional poet; background essays on the characters and world of my planned fantasy series appear in this space on Mondays, and my poems on Fridays.

Over a year ago I wrote a post explaining why I want feedback from my readers: I am my own worst critic. Since then I’ve had quite a bit of helpful encouragement from a few readers, and after requesting help preparing for WEbook’s PageToFame contest I’ve received some very helpful criticism.

But if my writing is to become any good, or in any case to improve, I need more than a little criticism, no matter how excellent, here and there. And anything that I want to get published shouldn’t be posted here, so it’s rather unlikely to get any criticism at present.

This is why I’m looking for a “first reader,” known in some circles as a “beta.” Someone I can send my work to and get back something more substantial than “I like it” from. (And preferably more than one.)

If you’re a writer (particularly of Christian or otherwise mythopoeic speculative fiction or fantasy) or poet yourself, I would most likely be delighted to be one of your first readers too.

(And if you’d be willing or interested but are worried you wouldn’t be any good, that can be remedied: there are various resources available to help improve critique. For instance, Patricia Wrede (of the worldbuilding questions, which I’ve been working my way through off and on for a couple of years now) recently had a few posts on her blog about critique, and I also finally found the list of questions for a “revising conference” from tenth grade, which I’ve been looking for to critique my own work for a while now.)

If you think you might be willing to become one of my “first readers,” please contact me. Thank you!