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WANTED: Beta Readers for Shaun

Happy Friday, everyone!

Today I'm posting a "wanted ad" for adult fiction writer Shaun Mitchell. While this is mostly a kidlit blog, I know some of you read and write other genres and might be a fit for Shaun. Here's some info about his novel and what he's looking for:

This is an adult fiction novel set in Newark, NJ from 1967-early 90's. I'm looking to have my first few chapters read for the time being.

My novel, written in short vignette-like flashes, is about one man's fall into addiction while searching for love. The main character, Soul, uses his addiction to replace the need and want for love and pictures his drug of choice as a woman; his lover, when he locks himself away from the world in abandoned buildings and motel rooms. The novel follows Soul's turbulent childhood, his ill-fated romantic pursuits, and his crawl off love's battlefield when Reagan takes over the war on drugs. My book Life in Marvelous Times was inspired by the song of the same name written by Brooklyn, NY MC Mos Def.

In his 2009 single “Life in Marvelous Times,” Mos Def declares that “we are alive in amazing times.” The lyrical images that follow those opening lines, the sleeve artwork, and the fan-made video Mos Def chose to represent the song suggest that the meaning of “marvelous” and “amazing” must mean “to cause wonder," “to astonish,” and “to bewilder.” According to Mos Def, we must be amazed and marvel at how “basic survival requires super heroics”; we must be amazed by both “delicate hearts” and “diabolical minds,” we must be amazed and marvel at the “revelations, hatred, love and war.” I wanted to write something that captured the message of that single. I've included two different excerpts; the first from Soul's childhood and the second from his adulthood.
Excerpt 1:

Our reality looks like a blazing shack spitting a gray ash of burnt memories into the mouth of an immovable night. Probably because that’s exactly what it is. It is just a scorching star of a home we used to live in, roaring against a galaxy of pavement beneath our feet. It swallows the wind into its heat and releases the air that kisses my mother’s hands so hard it hurts to watch as they wave goodbye to the home she kept. We listen to the violent music of her screams begging for it all to stay. Daddy puts his pain on his face. Then, as everything implodes and crumbles into itself, he says, it’s all gone.
Everything is nothing now.

Excerpt 2:
The sky in the room is snowing with asbestos; the walls are all peeling themselves away from the building’s bones as if they’ll walk away and abandon the place like the rest of the city had done. The only light in the room peeks through the gaps and slivers of cardboard taped to the window I jumped through last week. It would’ve been hell if it didn’t feel so much like heaven.

 Interested? Please e-mail Shaun directly at shaunj7029(at)aim(dot)com.


  1. I don't have time to commit to this now, but I will say: it sounds awesome.

    Also, Casey, love your new photo - gorgeous!

  2. I just got a feeling of deepness when I read those excepts. I'm not sure my angsty mind would do this story justice.

  3. Hi Natalie, I am currently on a writing block and I was wondering what would a much more experienced author recommend? Apparently mu muse is on strike :(.

  4. Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog.

  5. I wish I could but I'm so behind :( Love your blog and am so glad I stumbled on it!

  6. Ah, this sounds wonderful but I'm so behind :( I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog! It's a wonderful writing resource. I'm starting book 2 and it's already helpful.