An unexpected beta-read result, and a review

Nick Rowe, aka Babbitman (a talented writer who lives in England), beta-read Catling’s Bane for me while it was in the works. It’s the first book in a fantasy/sci-fi series that takes place on another planet. One of my characters, Tiler, is a heart-of-gold bad guy who has a flair for creative swearing.Β  I made up “fictional” swear words not only as a way to define his character, but also to distinguish this fantasy planet from Earth.

Tiler’s made-up curse words were inspired by the Foul O’Matic. If you aren’t easily offended, give it a try. It’s a hoot.

Well, I thought I had created swear words and phrases that were on the mild side. Then Nick read the manuscript for me, and he nearly spat out his coffee/tea/pint (I forget which). Apparently, some of Tiler’s improvised curses were rather over-the-top in the UK. For a week or so, we emailed back and forth, discussing creative foul language and making up alternatives. He even made a chart! It was pretty hysterical and a totally unexpected result of a beta-read.

Nick was kind enough to read the whole Rose Shield Series and recently reviewed all 4 books on his site (see below). While over there, take a peek at his serial about a couple of shipwrecked sailors who accidentally dine on the Greek gods, starting with Zeus when he appears as a swan. It’s pretty funny. πŸ™‚

Nick’s review of the Rose Shield Series:Β 

I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive review of theΒ Rose Shield tetralogyΒ (one more than a trilogy, in case you were wondering) for ages but things kept getting in the way, not least the amount of time it took to read them in the first place; this is a substantial story (over 1200 pages in total) but I promise you that there’s no padding.

I was tempted to frame it in the context of one young girl’s rise from poverty and disfigurement to power and Influence, but it’s much more than that. It’s set in a world on a knife-edge that’s about to undergo a series of changes both internally and externally with questions of succession, invasion, occupation, injustice, and revolution. And it’s into this maelstrom of competing interests that Catling is thrown…

(Continue Reading: Book Review: The Rose Shield Series)

117 thoughts on “An unexpected beta-read result, and a review

  1. Eric says:

    I’ve run into the same situation of trying to figure out creative swear words in stories that happen in other worlds. It’s hard! I’ve found some interesting sites that share lists of antiquated insults. Those are a lot of fun. How did you finally land on the best words? Any tips?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I did use the foul-o-matic for ideas. Often, I used parts of their suggestions and combined them to make something new. I also made up entirely meaningless words that sounded like swears. As well as silly insults like “sock fondler, butt herder and turd bender.” My character had a sense of humor, so I didn’t get overly raunchy. And even so, it was hard! Antiquate insults is a great idea, Eric! Good luck to you and have fun. πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. inesephoto says:

    Your books deserve the best reviews, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Antonia says:

    Awesome review, Diana! You deserve it, congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marnie says:

    That’s hilarious! Note to self: get an overseas beta reader to assess any foul language. Going to check out the full review now. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You sneak. There’s no place for me to place a THANKS in your pingback re-post of my Missed Perception. Oh my gosh, and this happened just a year ago when I was returning from a college get-together with friends. I just re-read it and cried again. ;–0 Thanks for highlighting this story of how we’re all just …. human beings. Looking for kindness and the ability to be exactly who we are. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How funny! When we watch BBC ( a lot) I keep my phone handy to look up words I don’t understand. Often, it’s a swear word, and it’s rougher than it sounds with the lovely accent. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was so surprised by the result of the beta read, Ellen. Modifications to cursing ended up being the main take-away. Who would’ve thunk? Not me. Lol. I felt incredibly lucky to have an English reader who was enthusiastic about helping. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Teri Polen says:

    Congrats on the review, Diana! Bet that was a shocker about the swear words – and a good laugh, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The swear word conversation was funny, Teri, but also so important. I had no idea that what I’d mashed together was so offensive. And yes, the review was a delightful surprise. I was so pleased – had to share. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the visit, my friend. Have a great week!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Made up cuss words are the best. I personally like to use W.C. Fields’s “Godfrey Daniel!”

    Also, I want to go know where that CRAP store is.

    Aaaaand, I’m heading over to Nick’s place to read the review right now!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. What a stellar review, Diana! Now, if I could just get more hours in the day, think of all the books I could read. A sentient planet–love it! Like Pandora or Petyabee (Anne McCaffery). Well done, my friend! The whole Rose Shield series is on my list (along with Soul Swallowers and Dragonsoul). Enjoy your weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha ha ha. You have a stack of reading! That’s why authors need 8 days a week. πŸ™‚ It was a treat to get all 4 books reviewed in one swoop. I was so tickled and grateful that Nick took the time. Thanks for taking a peek!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Vashti Q says:

    Hello, Diana! Congratulations on the great series review! It’s wonderful to have such a great beta reader. The whole ‘curse’ thing is hilarious and now I want to try the Foul O’Matic. πŸ˜‰ xx

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Creative “foul” word play. You come up with it all, Diana. Made me laugh in my hot cup of tea this morning. I just ordered your 2nd Soul Swallower book. My guy is a huge fan now. YAY! From there, Caitling’s Bane (of which I’ve read the first one, Caitling still follows me in my thoughts). xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Awww. Thank you so much to both of you, Pam. I’m glad your guy is a fan! I’d love for him to try Sunweilder (a guy book) – I’ll even send him a free copy! Creative foul language was actually a challenge because I needed to come up with a bunch of them. Thank goodness for the foul-o-matic! Ha ha. Happy Writing, my friend. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, I know exactly what to put in his Christmas stocking now. He is not a “Kindle” guy, so I’ll order him the paperback of Sunweilder; he has a big stocking. πŸ™‚ (And I like Amazon to see people ordering Indie books from them!!!!)

        Liked by 2 people

        • Oh, I wasn’t pushing for a book sale, Pam. It’s just a book he might like, so if you send me an email with your address, I’m happy to pop a paperback into the mail. Women like Sunwielder too, but for some reason, men really seem to relate to the main character. And yes, I do understand the value of going through Amazon, but still… I offered. Hugs, my friend. ❀

          Liked by 2 people

  12. Annika Perry says:

    I bet there has neve been a beta-read exchange like the one between you two! I can’t believe he even made a chart! Imaginative! Curse words can be tricky as you almost need to live in a country to see what power it holds there, it can even vary for regions! Congratulations on the great review … I’m impressed he managed to pull one across the series, very well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true, Annika. Hopefully my character’s creative cursing is more humorous than offensive at this point, but you’re right that there may be places where it still raises eyebrows. Nick’s feedback was fantastic and so surprising to me! And of course, the review made my heart sing. Ha ha. Thanks for the visit, my friend. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Solitaire says:

    Absolutely wonderful to have a review that enhances the magic of your writing🌺

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I am incredibly intrigued by which made-up cusses were over-the-top in the UK…Allowing myself to use my imagination, which is fun!
    And wow, that was an amazing review! I definitely want to pick up this series once I’ve finished my short-story streak.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t save the chart that Nick made for me, but I was rather fascinated and entertained by the whole discussion. They were made up phrases and word combinations using variations of real curse words (sort of) and it seems some of them were overly graphic or derogatory in nature. I was so relieved that those didn’t end up in the books!! Lol. Well, I hope that you give the books a try. It will be the opposite of a short story! Happy Reading, Mary. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Widdershins says:

    An excellent review! πŸ˜€ … must not click on the link, must not click on the link ,,, must not click …

    Liked by 2 people

  16. trentpmcd says:

    he was a great character. The creative cursing made him memorable so whenever he was in a scene, you knew who ti was.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh good. I had so much fun creating him and his personality really stood out for me. I’m glad it worked. πŸ™‚ Keeping the swears on the mild side had seemed important to me and Nick was a big help in doing that. Thanks for the visit, Trent. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. rijanjks says:

    The Foulomatic made me laugh out loud. I shall never lack for a unique curse word again. πŸ™‚ Great review, Diana! Congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Sarah says:

    Congratulations on the wonderful review! And I just had a look at the Foul-o- matic – whoa! Those are some really juicy curse words, especially in British English! Hehe! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha ha ha. I’m glad you took a peek. It’s so interesting how curse word take on different levels of offensiveness even among speakers of the same language. Something I learned that I need to be careful about when I’m being creative with my swearing. πŸ˜€ All in fun though. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Ha ha! Well, you know that I’M not easily offended! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I’ll defintitely go check this out! πŸ‘

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Congrats on the great reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Your e-mails would make fascinating reading πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Jina Bazzar says:

    That was a great and thorough review, Diana – and very professional-like sounding.
    My only complain is that i couldn’t find any of the cuss words…. i’m clicking on the other link now…

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Lignum Draco says:

    That’s the beauty of language – open to interpretation depending on the culture.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Ben Aqiba says:

    Hello Diana,

    this is my first time on your blog and I am sure not the last. Great review, and I am sure that the book is great.Congratulations

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I LOVE Babbitman, and am glad to hear he was so thorough a reader for you! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

  26. dgkaye says:

    Congrats again ( I left comment at Nick’s) Diana. What a fantabulous review! And I gotta tell you, that ‘Foulamatic’ site is hilariousssssss! πŸ™‚ xx

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Great writing, Diana. Love your books.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Much as I love sci-fi “minced oaths” — Battlestar Galactica and Firefly were known for them — I’m glad my own fiction takes place on contemporary Earth and I get to invoke the wide range of colorful expletives we’ve spent centuries developing!

    Congrats, Diana, on another stellar review. Doesn’t it feel great when someone gives your work a careful read and a considerate review?

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Steven Baird says:

    Wow, Diana, congratulations. What a great/entertaining review!

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Oh dear – there goes my morning πŸ™‚ I am just going to have to follow these links and see where they lead. You know how much I love the Rose Shield Series – and the other books of yours I have read. You make amazing worlds that echo our own in quite thought provoking ways and your characters jump off the page they are so multi dimensional. I see the note that says your mother is home too Diana, I am glad to see that. You and she have been in my mind these last weeks. I’ll see you on the other side of this particular rabbit hole πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Pauline. Sorry to mess up your morning! Ha ha. Nick was a big help in making Tiler’s cursing just the right tone for the book, and his review was a treat. Thanks for your kind words about my books. I’m grinning ear to ear. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Mae Clair says:

    That is indeed interesting beta feedback, LOL. I’m headed over now.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. It is so wonderful to get helpful and useful feedback from beta readers and developmental editors, Diana. Congratulations on the reviews too.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Nice job, Nick! This cracked me up. Congratulations on a terrific review, Diana. I hope your mother is well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Jill. Yes, Nick was an instrumental person in making sure the character was just what I wanted – a creative swearer, but not too offensive. And the review really made my day. My mom is home and doing okay. Thanks so much for asking. ❀

      Liked by 3 people

  34. I saw the “crap” image and had no idea what to expect, Diana. LOL. This was a fun post. After I finally settled into adulthood and career, I tried to clean up my mouth… but I’ve been known to indulge in creative use of the F-word (for any and all parts of speech). o_O I want to play with the thingamajig link, but maybe I should wait until I get home, rather than doing it at lunch. :/
    Congratulations on a wonderful and well deserved review. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Teagan. Nick thought that the “Crap” might mislead readers, but I figured they’d get it once they started reading. πŸ™‚ Yes, try the foul-o-matic when you get home. It’s pretty hysterical. Glad you enjoyed the post, my friend. ❀

      Liked by 2 people

  35. TanGental says:

    All creative swearing is to be applauded Diana. I grew up on Tintin books and there’s no more creative swearer than Captain Haddock so if you are in his league you are a 21st century wonder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Geoff. I’m so glad you are an aficionado of creative swearing. I do get a kick out of it and it was perfect for this particular character. And now there’s nothing too too offensive – thanks to Nick. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 2 people

  36. What a great catch. Kudos to Nick! I remember the words (which I didn’t recognize as British swear words) when I read this series. I figured they were curses!

    Liked by 3 people

    • They are just made up curse-combinations and words, Jacqui. And some of them crossed the line on the other side of the Atlantic. Nick helped me tone those down so that no one’s eyeballs would pop out. Ha ha. I’m glad they worked for you. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the visit, my friend. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 2 people

  37. balroop2013 says:

    European swear words are better than American but I have often wondered when did such words creep into books! I didn’t come across any ( I had opted for British Literature) when I was reading the prescribed novels and Drama. Probably classics didn’t use them?
    Books of present era use curse words liberally and some of them just to fill pages! It is interesting to note that you created your own, Diana. Congratulations for a fabulous review and such a supportive beta reader.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t mind swears as long as they are sparse, Balroop, for impact more than for normal speaking. I made up my swear words as part of the character and wanted to keep them mild and light, like “sock-fondler.” See, not too bad. But some apparently were highly offensive without meaning to be. I was lucky that Nick was willing to help me – really lucky! Thanks for the visit, my friend. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 3 people

  38. babbitman says:

    Heh, just realised that your chosen picture for this post may make people think it relates to my review, rather than our potty-mouthed discussions about profanity. πŸ˜‰
    I’m sure it’ll help get a few more clicks!
    Actually, on the subject of swearing, I’ve been doing work recently on an Australian project, part of which required me to check for profanity in telephone calls. That had to be one of the most hilarious afternoons I’ve had in an office.
    One call had a guy saying that he’d been shafted by someone else pulling out of a deal and “f***** left with a f****** d**** stuck up his f****** a***”.
    I love Aussies – they absolutely pull no punches πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, the CRAP was about the swearing. The review would have to be AWESOME. Good point though – they’ll figure it out. And so funny about the checking profanity of phone calls. That would have had me giggling. Ha ha. Nothing like a good curse-filled rant. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  39. That’s quite funny. Good thing you happened to have a Brit reviewer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know! I had no idea that some of my made-up curse combinations were so offensive. Ha ha. They took the books to a whole other level of raunchiness apparently. But all corrected and we got a lot of laughs in the process. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  40. Soooo good! I’m in the middle of Farlander’s Law and hope to be doing a review of the whole series soon as well. Thanks for sharing about the process on Tiler’s swearing. So funny! The published results are genius and add much to the books’ texture and overall enjoyment. Thanks for your diligence, and I’m glad to hear you had plenty of laughter along the way!

    Liked by 2 people

  41. What a fantastic review for the book and series, Diana. Congratulations. You have a fantastic Beta Reader in Nick, AKA Babbitman, and now a reviewer, too. It sounds like you two had a fun time with those curse words. πŸ™‚ Welcome home.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We did have fun with it, Mary. I was surprised that some of them were so offensive! We went back and forth a number of times as we created more appropriate swear words. And I made all the changes he recommended. It was pretty funny. Thanks for stopping by! (And I finished your book – review coming later today once I catch up on the blog. πŸ˜€ )

      Liked by 3 people

  42. Congrats on the great review, Diana! You bring up a good point; I wonder if there’s a site to cross-check words in other countries to avoid misunderstandings?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Jacquie. I was rather shocked about the curses. I was careful not to go with anything too crass in the US. And apparently some of my choices were eyebrow-raisers in the UK. It just goes to show that international beta-readers can come in handy! Happy Writing πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  43. babbitman says:

    Thanks Diana! Ah, I did enjoy our filth-ridden emails – great fun! πŸ˜€
    It was a pleasure to read and review the Rose Shield series and I’ll no doubt do another one for the Soul Swallowers (currently thoroughly enjoying it). And thanks for the plug for The Ophagy (a novel I appear to be writing by accident, in installments, with each chapter shaped by my monthly writing group prompt). I’ve just drafted Chapter 20 and will see how it goes down with the rest of the group tomorrow night. Must post Chapter 18 up on the blog this week. Chapter 19 was very interesting to write…
    Here’s an interesting fact for you, Diana: our monthly writing prompts are most often taken from lines in books – usually yours! I open my Kindle app on my phone, ask for a percentage from someone, go to the relevant point in the book and then ask for a number between 1 and 30 to specify which line to look at. The most recent one (from The Soul Swallowers) was “a series of cascades to rival the falls” and my Chapter 20 is entitled “A Series of Cascades”. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! That’s a fun way to get prompts! And I’m honored to be the source on occasion. While I was traveling, I suddenly realized that in our conversation about swords versus spears you had mentioned Raze and Benjmur. Took me a while to make the connection that you were reading Soul Swallower, but eventually I did! Of course, I’m thrilled, and I’m glad you’re enjoying it. πŸ™‚ And I was happy to mention the Ophagy, Nick. It’s a fun story and I’ve been looking forward to seeing how you wrap it up! Finally, thank you again for the wonderful review of The Rose Shield and for the ongoing support and friendship. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 2 people

      • babbitman says:

        Diana, having enjoyed everything you’ve ever written, of course I’m going to happily read whatever you produce!
        And thanks for inspiring me to crack on and write an on-going series of my own. I think I’m around 50-60% through, with an aim of around 60-70k words by the time it’s finished. Twenty chapters at a rough count of 2k each gives me about 40k words and I now have an idea of where things might be going and how it’s all going to end. Sort of.
        But you never know what those monthly prompts will do to the story… πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 2 people

  44. A great review. I can’t imagine being off out by foul language, when used properly it is like nudity, necessary to the plot or exloitive. I can’t wait to read your book Diana, congratulations!

    Liked by 3 people

  45. What a fantastic review Diana! Kudos to you and how nice to receive such a clear and positive review by Nick. He sounds like a great reviewer with lots of helpful details that make me want to read this series. I haven’t bought a book in years, but maybe I’ll splurge. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

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