Don't forget to read any posts from the last week and a half you might have missed as it has been busy! There are many opportunities for upcoming drawings including double giveaways from Kara Louise, Becky Thumann, Sharon Lathan, Shannon Winslow and Karen Wasylowski; as well as the posts from Gayle Mills and Jan Ashe. Read ALL of them and don't forget to comment! Comments are your entries to WIN those giveaways!
June 22--Stephanie Hamm
June 24--Kristy Bagley
June 26--Laurel Ann Nattress
June 29--Pam Dixon
July 3--Jennifer Petkus
July 6--Karen Aminada
July 10--Marilyn Brant
July 13--Meredith Esparanza
July 17--Lori Smith
July 24--Barbara Tiller Cole: Christmas in July
July 27--Amy Cecil
July 31--Maria Grace
August 3--Wendi S.
August 7--Moira B.
August 10--Barbara TC and the DBF
August 14--Colette S.
August 17--Regina Jeffers
August 21--Sally Smith O'Rourke
August 24--Amber Godat
And Many more to come!
Comments on Stephanie's post will be entered into the monthly drawings here at Darcyholic Diversions. Winners will be selected along with other June winners, at the beginning to July. Entries will be based on comments on blog posts; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, Joining this site as a member via Google Friend Connect (GFC) (See the left hand column on the blog to join!), sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend me on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page or following BarbTCole on Twitter.
Where Would We Be Without Darcyholic Readers!!
Part of me wonders why I agreed to participate in Barbara’s most popular blog. I am no major player in the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction. I’m no one special and really don’t have much to offer. But then I thought about what I have done since I’ve discovered the JAFF community, and I realized that just being a beta is something special. Posting a story can be very scary for authors, and they need all the support they can get. A good beta, if anything, is there to support her writers.
Prior to finding JAFF, I was just your typical “average Jane” and not much of a reader. When I was young, there was a time that I read every Goosebumps and Sweet Valley High book ever made; but as I got older, reading books became a thing of the past, and friends took priority. After I became an adult, I was more concerned with work, and then about starting a family. I had no desire to spend my free time with my nose stuck in a book.
This all changed in 2009 when my husband was deployed for a year in Afghanistan. I was eight months pregnant with our second child at the time and spent the lonely nights watching movies. I came across Becoming Jane first, which led to watching more period pieces. I felt like I watched more movies in that short time then I had in years. Of course, Pride and Prejudice, both the movie and the TV series, drew me in. I wasn’t satisfied until I read the original story in full and actually ended up reading it twice. In the end I came to the conclusion - I LOVE DARCY!
Then one day, browsing through the book section at Target, my eyes were drawn to the word “Darcy.” I was immediately intrigued. It was a Pride and Prejudice sequel!! I had no idea such books existed. I bought and read it that same day. The very next day saw me walking into Barnes & Noble searching for more sequels. After several trips, I eventually had bought every sequel I could find in the bookstore. At that point, I expanded my search to Amazon and found a treasure chest full of more sequels. I found myself visiting one of the author’s websites, which led me to the many JAFF forums. Thus, my obsession truly began. I couldn’t get enough. There were just so many stories out there, and I rediscovered my love for the drama, mystery, and romance found in a good story.
Like most people when joining the JAFF forums for the first time, I was a little shy and nervous about commenting. I eventually became more comfortable and found that the JAFF community was filled with very pleasant, sweet, and funny people.
How did I go from being shy and nervous about commenting to being a beta for various authors? Well, I’ll bestow the credit for introducing me to the beta world to Katie Baxley. She asked if I would be one of her betas for the new book she was working on at the time. At first I was a little awed and intimidated. Here was an author of two published books, both of which were sitting on my shelf, asking if I could help her with her new one. I’m not an English major, nor did I even enjoy the subject during school. How could I possibly help? But I couldn’t say no. I was completely intrigued by the whole process. I learned a great deal about what to look for and what to suggest. I found that I had an eye for detail and did really well as a plot beta.
And, so my journey as a beta began. Since my first real foray into being a beta for a story, I’ve helped several other authors. Even though I’m not the grammar expert, I do help in my own way; ensuring consistency and finding plot holes are just as important to a story as is grammar. I often wonder how I, someone who hated reading in high school and despised writing papers in college, can find so much pleasure in helping someone else write their story, chapter by chapter.
My advice to those who find themselves in a similar situation, or for those who just want to help, is not to be afraid to check out those beta threads on the various forums. There are many authors looking for all kinds of help. You don’t need to be an expert in grammar or even good with details. Sometimes an author needs a cold reader, someone to help her brainstorm, or, even just someone to say that his or her story is good enough to post. Also, if you are on the verge of wanting to write your own story but are unsure of where to start, I would recommend being a beta first. There’s nothing that will get your writing juices flowing more than being a beta.
No matter if you have been around the JAFF community for many, many years or only for months, there is always room for new betas. There are so many authors out there who need support; I urge you to take the leap as a beta and make your mark in the JAFF world.
ensuring consistency and finding plot holes are just as important to a story as is grammar.ReplyDelete
Amen! Betas are necessary and wonderful. I'm glad you found your way to Jane Austen fanfic.
Thanks June! I'm glad I found JAFF too. There are just soooo many wonderful stories out there :)Delete
Steph, you are too modest. You are a huge player in JAFF. I don't even know how many writers you beta for, but you've done three books with me, and have already started the fourth. You are definitely an unsung hero.ReplyDelete
And you don't serve only as a plot beta (at which you excel), but you also offer wonderful ideas and suggestions. My work is so much better because of you.
Thank you so much!
Thanks for the wonderful comments Robin. I enjoyed every moment of helping you with your stories. I learned so much from the whole process. Your new book should be a piece of cake for us, huh?Delete
You've been a great friend, Robin, and I look forward to continue working with you in the future.
Hurrah for readers! We love you. We write for you. We care what you think. Hurrah for betas! I love my beta. She puts all her feelings into the comments. When there's a lack of comments, that tells me something as well. I'm less interested in the grammar than her reactions. You are an invaluable part of the JAFF community. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope your husband doesn't have to go back to Afghanistan. It's so hard everyone in the family. Love the pic of you and the kids.ReplyDelete
Hi Mary!! Just want to say I love your stories and have all of them! I read your teaser for your WW2 story and can't wait till you finish that one. Hope it is soon!Delete
My husband is now on a special duty so will be staying put for a few years...thank goodness! Thanks for commenting!!
So glad to hear that your husband will "stay put." My son-in-law is an over-the-road trucker, and he's gone 60 days at a time. It's so hard on my daughter, but she keeps her chin up. I think of our servicemen and women every time he goes out.Delete
WWII Darcy story is now out to the first readers. It should be out in the fall. Thanks for asking.
Military families are not the only ones who have sacrifices. Your daughter's family is a good example and I wish them well. It's not easy being away from one's family no matter what the job is.Delete
WWII Darcy - whoo hoo!! Can't wait! :)
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Wonderful post, Stephanie! I loved hearing how you discovered Jane Austen and your realization about sequels to Jane Austen novels! You most definitely provide a wonderful service to authors! Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thanks Meredith! I'm so glad I found JAFF and get to meet so many fellow addicts :)Delete
Great post, Stephanie. While I've been collecting JAFF for several years now, I'm new to the online forum/ blog/ correspondence community. Any link recommendations (besides this awesome blog, of course)?ReplyDelete
Loved your "JAFF testimony"-- it's great to see how the right books encourage more people to read. Thank you for sharing!
Hi Jamie! There are several forums out there that offer a lot of stories and a place to interact with other members. They're great places to share you obsession with people who understand.Delete
Here's some links for you:
Derbyshire Writer's Guild http://dwiggie.com/toc/index.php?id=E&page=all
50 Miles of Good Road http://www.scotch-and-sirens.waw.pl/index.php
Bloom & Quill http://bloomandquill.com/viewforum.php?f=7
Austen Underground http://austenunderground.com/forum/index.php
Darcy and Lizzy http://forum.darcyandlizzy.com/index.php#2
A Happy Assembly http://www.meryton.com/aha/
Most require a registration. Enjoy!!
Oh my... thank you! Just registered at DarcyandLizzy-- can't wait!Delete
Jamie: If you will look up at the Tab on the top of this blog, I have what is always going to be a work in progress but is pretty close to an all encompassing list of Austen and Fan Fiction on the internet. Hope you will check it out. I am sure that you will find many fun things to take a look at in addiction to the ones that Stephanie mentioned here! BarbaraDelete
Hi Stephanie! It's nice to "meet" you! Your story sounds a little like mine, with not being much of a reader then discovering JAFF and becoming an avid reader! I think beta readers are very important, so keep up the good work! Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
It's great to "meet" you also, Candy! I love hearing about how everyone found their way into JAFF. There are a lot of similar stories, I think.Delete
Thanks for commenting!!
I would have been lost without your input last night. Imagine a 12 year-old being married and pregnant, that would have been hard to deal with if I had posted it. Thanks for catching the pot hole.ReplyDelete
I enjoy my time interacting with you and I am glad call you friend.
Hi Annette! I'm glad we were able to catch that before you posted the chapter that introduces those characters. It would have been interesting to see a married 12 year old LoL.Delete
I'm happy we became friends also, Annette. Thanks for commenting!!
I've always devoured books, particularly fiction. Approximately 3 years I picked up the 2005 P&P movie and moved from there to the 1995 BBC edition and on to the book and the rest is history. Have all the Jane books and have read quite a few JAFF. Love the genre!ReplyDelete
Stephanie, I'd never heard of "beta" in this context before and read your post with great interest. I learned something new today - thanks!
It was a while before I understood what a beta was too. And it wasn't until I helped Katie that I really knew what to do. It's been such a joy to help these authors. I would definitely recommend it, if it sounds interesting to you.Delete
Thanks for commenting!!
It was wonderful to read you Stephanie. I think you should try writing your own stories very soon. I am sure there is a lot we would enjoy from them.ReplyDelete
Hi China! I do have a story that I want to start but it's been put on the back burner while I finished school. Now that I finally finished I've been spending my time lately trying to catch up on all the stories I've missed.....yours included :) Maybe one day it will come to pass.Delete
Thanks for commenting China! Have a great weekend!
As a reader, I appreciate betas as well. It's usually pretty obvious when someone isn't using one! Lol It makes such a big difference.ReplyDelete
I'd been wondering lately what all went into being a beta and it's good to know that you don't have to be an expert in writing or grammar to be good at it.
Hi Monica! Since I'm not really confident in the grammar department I usually help with the plot or consistency. I am helping one author who already has a beta team. I just read the chapter one last time before she posts it to make sure there's no spelling errors or mixed up names or age issues, things like that. There really are many different ways to help.Delete
Thanks for commenting! :)
You are the BEST at conistency! You always seem to find something that no one else notices. And I really appreciate that! I DO hope that we get to see something from you some where along the line. In the meantime I really appreciate your taking the time to do this guest post! Barbara
Barb, it has been great working with you and getting to know you. I'll definitely be seeing you at the book festival in September. I can't wait to meet all the wonderful authors that will be there.ReplyDelete
Also, thank you Barb for having me as a guest on your blog. I appreciate it and enjoyed reading the comments from your readers.
Steph, you've never formally beta'd for me, but even so, you've helped me out with consistency when I dropped a clanker! It's always appreciated when readers spot things and care enough to point them out privately. Great article by the way.ReplyDelete
p.s. Wanna beta for me? - Diana
Thanks for the wonderful comments Diana! You know OTP is one of my favorites so I would love to help with it's sequel. :)Delete