This appeal goes out to everyone who reads my blog and my Twitter. I need some help, and I need it relatively quickly. Long story short: I’d like to have at least two people, women, not fellow writers, not personally known to me, to test read my new unfinished work-in-progress. What’s in it for you? Read on!

What’s the Book?

I’m working on a new horror novel, called Doppelgänger. It starts out as a classic-style Victorian haunted house story, but it’s got a bit of a twist. This is not a zombie tale like Zombies of Byzantium or The Zombie Rebellion (due out in May 2014 from Samhain Publishing). I intend it to be quite a departure from my previous work, and I certainly hope it will turn out to be as exciting as I think it’s going to be!

Doppelgänger is the story of Dagmar Atherton, daughter of a minor Swedish noble who, by several twists of fate, winds up married to a rich young New York lawyer. It’s 1880, and as she moves into a gloomy old row house–a block off Fifth Avenue, as her husband insists on reminding everybody–she finds not everything is as it seems. There are footsteps and spectral laughter in the middle of the night. The servants keep dying on the job. And the last woman to live in the house went quite insane. What lurks in the shadows of this strange house–and will Dagmar survive it with her sanity intact?

My husband remarked that, from what he read, Doppelgänger is sort of like “The Age of Innocence meets The Shining.”

horror sm

Who am I looking for, and why?

I’d like to find two people to act as beta readers. I would like for them to fit the following criteria, for which I have a specific rationale:

1. Horror fans. Why? Because it’s a horror book, of course!

2. Women. Why? This is my first major project with a female lead character, and I’d like to know how I’m doing in portraying her, and the other female characters, in a way that avoids the usual depictions of women in science fiction and horror.

3. Not a personal friend of mine. If you’ve ever met me face to face, I can’t use you. Why? If the book sucks, I don’t want you to have any personal stake in telling me that it sucks.

4. Not a writer. Why? I don’t want to know how another writer would write the book. I want to know how readers will respond.

5. You cannot have read any of my previous books. Why? I want you to approach Doppelgänger as I hope many readers will–totally fresh, with no influence by what you might have thought, good or bad, about my previous work.

6. Able to read right away. I hope to finish Doppelgänger in the next few weeks, and if the beta reads tell me I need major structural changes to the book, I’ve got to have time to do them. You need to turn your feedback around to be pretty quickly.

Keep in mind, the book is unfinished. You won’t know the ending, at least not yet. The book is, right now, about 40,000 words, or about half finished.

What’s in it for you?

I’ll send beta readers, free of charge, an e-book version of my science fiction novel Life Without Giamotti.

How do you get involved?

Inbox me at or @ me on Twitter. I’ll email you and we can discuss the details–what format (most likely .PDF), where to send it, all that jazz.

Sound good? Hopefully so! I have utilized beta readers before to great success, so I’m really hopeful it will go smoothly this time around too. Thanks to everyone, in advance, for their responses!