… months of writing – 1st feedback from a beta-reader …

Two weeks ago I sent 20 chapters of a novel in progress (sequel to Course of Mirrors) to a friend. A long train journey from Brighton to Penzance (Radio Cornwall recorded her poetry) meant she could get stuck into reading. This morning I received an enthusiastic response from her, and demands for more chapters. Waiting for the first feedback from a sophisticated beta-reader engenders a period of nerve-wrecking suspense, so I was truly cheered.

And it was a great start for today’s Shaman-drumming soirée, organised by my dear friends. Drumming clears the air and opens channels to other worlds, while grounding us in our present reality. And meeting up with 11 real bodies 🙂 nourished this lonesome writer.

Drumming J. J. junior

Drumming J. J. junior

Seashell Rattle

Seashell Rattle



And I love those tiny shells. Imagine them washing up from the deep sea and rattling against the shore. When netted around a hollow gourd they make a most magical sound.



I’m looking forward to the publication of ‘Course of Mirror’ next year. http://www.armadillocentral.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=134:new-author-ashen-venema&catid=1:general&Itemid=1

And after my beta reader’s feedback, I feel encouraged, and have confidence that the sequel to my mythical and speculative novel will enchant readers no less, and that the series will acquire a fan fellowship. The idea for a third book in the series is taking shape.  

During periods of being intensely immersed in writing (my process demands solitude) I invariably neglect my Twitter and Facebook friends, and you, dear readers of my blog. I hope you nevertheless enjoy my occasional posts and bear with me.


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9 responses to “… months of writing – 1st feedback from a beta-reader …

  1. Oh honey, it’s always a total delight to read your blog posts, whether they are frequent or not, it’s something I always look for to.

    HUGE congratulations on the feedback you received, I have no doubts that CoM and the sequel will be thrilling to read and the sheer quality of your writing guarantees you a loyal fanbase…speaking as a fan myself, I am very excited to have a copy of CoM on my bookshelves! Any idea when the publication date will be?


  2. I am thrilled you got positive feedback from your friend. I never know how sincere friends are but when they ask for more chapters, then that’s undeniable proof of the fact they like your work!

    I am fascinated by what you write about drumming. Would love to hear more.


    • Yes, it’s a great perk. Thanks, Katia. This friend helped me to hone my voice during the writing of my first novel. I then learned to lose some bad habits through sharing each chapter as I wrote it. The feedback from Harper Collins authonomy site was also invaluable. This time round I did not share the writing apart from snippets. This is why I’m cheered.

      Re: Drumming … like singing, helps us to appreciate the powerful effect of vibrations. Drumming is earthier, wakes the ancestors and connects up memories. By allowing the drum to speak and resonate in the body by first tuning the beat to the rhythm of one’s heart, the mind clears and the body’s energy centres open. This can potentially invite altered states and visions. Drumming is particularly powerful in a group when the timbre of drums begins to sing (as in overtones) and they align into harmony.


  3. Great to hear that things are coming together with the new book.

    When we lived in Portsmouth I went to a couple of drumming sessions I loved it.

    Good luck with the development of the new work.


  4. Luck is always welcome ☼ I’m enjoying your ‘Jacob’ instalments.


  5. Those little cowrie shells have a yellow version called moneta…Portuguese for money which is what they were, once. Perhaps the drumming origins of music were the heartbeat of the planet, and the ‘beats in the bar’ gathered up the marching feet (4/4), the tripping run(6/8), the waltz(3/4) and the whirling dervish 0/0)to declare the body’s obedience to what began it all.
    All things are coming together.


  6. Cowrie shells, that’s what they’re called, so beautiful, no wonder they were used in exchange for goods etc.
    You put that well, the heartbeat of the planet, yes. Everything in nature has its rhythm. Then there’s a Sufi lore about the effect different beats have on us. I personally like the whirling waltz 🙂 But to the same beat quickened I sometimes have visions of animals or hunters running.


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