Time Shifters, Beta Readers and Book Blurb #2 – WIPpet Wednesday

The Great Fire of London mapI think today might have to be the last time I post anything from Time Shifters for WIPpet Wednesday. That does mean I will have to start writing something new (you’ll know how that goes if I manage a post next week or not). But with Time Shifters in the very final stages of editing and almost ready to go out to beta readers it can hardly be classed as a work in progress any longer. So, it’s time for something new.

This week, however, I shall stick with Time Shifters and give you a final four paragraphs for the 4th September. This extract takes place not long after Maisie has saved Charlie the dog from a wealthy woman’s house in 1666 London and she’s escaped into the street with Danny and Lizzie who are frantically running away from the fire.

I didn’t look back. People screaming and the roar of flames filled my ears and the stench of smoke choked my lungs. Women, children, dogs, even the men in uniform who had been attempting to put out the fire were running for their lives. Danny, Lizzie and I weaved in and out, running past people laden with belongings, dodging furniture lying abandoned in the street. Charlie, I suddenly thought. I turned back and strained to see the miserable old man and his cart with the lady and Charlie next to him steadily making their way towards safety through the packed street.

“Come here!” a gruff voice suddenly shouted from the doorway of the nearest house.

A tall thin boy shot into me like a bullet, sending me sprawling to the ground. He stumbled and nearly dropped the necklace he clutched in his hand but regained his balance and disappeared in the crowd. Dirty cobblestones millimetres from my face stretched in front of me pounded by stranger’s feet. The palms of my hands were sore and grazed and my knees stung. I tried to scramble to my feet but I was knocked back down by a thick set man too busy getting out of the fire’s way to notice me.

“Danny wait!” Lizzie shouted, and then I saw her battered 15th century shoes in front of me. She grabbed me beneath my arms and helped me to my feet.

I mentioned at the start of this post about beta readers. I already have someone lined up but I would love a few more and so I wondered if anyone would be interested and have the time this month to beta read Time Shifters for me? If you would like to then please either let me know in the comments below or email me at kactus (at) kate-frost (dot) co (dot) uk. Time Shifters is a time travel adventure story aimed at 9-12 year-olds. Here’s the reworked blurb for it (I’d love to know what you think of this version):

When Maisie Brown is time shifted to 1471 and the midst of the Wars of the Roses during a school trip to Warwick Castle, it’s the beginning of an adventure bigger than she could have ever dreamed of. The only problem is she has to share it with Lizzie Andrews, the class bully, instead of her best friend Danny Romano, who has managed to get caught up amongst the Earl of Warwick’s army marching towards the Battle of Barnet and Edward IV, the King of England.

Determined to save Danny, Maisie and Lizzie leave the relative safety of the castle and follow after the army. Battling against everything that Medieval England throws at them the girls find unexpected help from a Lord with a surprising secret, discover two mysterious hooded figures are trying to hunt them down, and that they have the unlikeliest of allies looking out for them. With time fast running out to find Danny the chase is on for them to all find a way home or risk being time shifted again.


Time Shifters, the first of a trilogy, is a time travel adventure story and an exciting read the whole family can enjoy.

Anyone with a work in progress can join in with WIPpet Wednesday. All you need to do is choose an extract from your WIP that has a connection to the date (so today you could post 4 sentences or paragraphs from page 49 or chapter 9 for example) and then add your link here. Many thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting.

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  1. Hi Kate, I’d be happy to beta read for you if you like! Great way to get a sneak preview before it’s published too! 😉 My daughter’s the age of your target readers so that will help too.

    • Ah Debbie, that’s fantastic, thank you! Even better that your daughter is in the right age group for the book. I’ve been meaning to email you for ages so I will do so either today or tomorrow. Thanks again!

  2. If you still need a Beta read in October, let me know. September is pretty crazy for me. I’ll be gone for a week and a half and don’t have much time before then.

    The WIPpet is great. Really feel the panic of her getting run down in the street. The second paragraph of the blurb still needs some work, IMHO. That second sentence is a whopper. Breaking it down in shorter chunks might help add some tension to the whole thing.

    • Thanks for the offer Kathi. Going to try and stick to beta reading in September to have any chance of getting Time Shifters published by December – but I’ll see how that goes!

      I’ll take another look at the second paragraph and the whopper sentence! The blurb is proving to be harder to write than the actual novel but then again that and the cover will be any potential reader’s first impression.

  3. Eek, definitely not a good time to be falling!

    I’m not sure I commented on the blurb last week, but I remember reading it, and have to say this one does sound much better. I think you give away a good amount in the second paragraph to grab people’s interest.

    I’d love to beta read for you! 😀 My email address is fuzzyagent999[at]yahoo[dot]com[au].

  4. Hi Kate,
    Lovely extract. I got a great sense of the panic and desperation the characters had. Great new blurb too. I think it’s good that you mention at the end it’s something the whole family can enjoy.
    Best of luck with it. :)

  5. Yes! This is great Kate–the excerpt and the blurb.
    Unfortunately, I can’t beta, as I mentioned to Emily. I’m reading too many other manuscripts right now and I have some project deadlines of my own coming up.

  6. This is by far the most emotionally intense piece I’ve read from Time Shifters (and that’s not to say that others were lacking at all). The image of a young person about to be trampled by a stampeding mob is graphic.

    The blurb… A lot better, though it feels long for a “quick catch” piece. Maybe using Kathi’s suggestions of shorter sentences would help, since it would add an emotional terseness to the piece.

    • Thanks Eden. I’m going to take another look at the blurb and see what I can do with that pesky second paragraph. Everyone’s feedback is great.

      • I guess it really depends on where you want to put this blurb, Kate. I guess the best way to describe my hesitation with it is this…

        When my son and I choose books for him, he wants a blurb that reads almost as fast as an editor’s ‘elevator pitch’. There are just too many books in a bookstore, and each one demands attention from him (and he really does try to give each one that attention, which is exhausting).

        The quicker the blurb on the cover catches him, the more likely he is to open it up to look at the frontispiece and if he likes that sample scene, the more likely he is to continue on and skim some pages, and so on.

        He doesn’t read ebooks yet, but I suspect his pattern will be similar.

        Does any of this info help you with your blurb writing?

        • Thanks Eden, this is really helpful. I think what I’m going to do is work on a one line blurb too – that elevator pitch which will hopefully get kids and adults interested in the book without having to read the main blurb. I think I will then use them both with the one line blurb first, followed by the longer blurb.

  7. I think the blurb is working more smoothly now. :-)

    I’m disappointed we don’t get more WIPpets from Time Shifters, but I suppose it was inevitable. *sigh* It’d be too hard to piece together everything in order anyway. :-)

  8. I definitely like this one better than the questions version. Much more engaging. The middle of the second paragraph gets a big bogged down in details for me. Maybe you could exclude one? I’m not sure which of the three ranks the most important. Also should the and after 1471 be in? Other than that, reads much better and as I said before, far more engaging!

    I also enjoyed your excerpt. Very visual!

  9. Very intense! I’d be happy to beta read for you once I finish beta’ing Kathil’s novel :)

    • Many thanks for the offer, Christina. Let me know once you’ve finished reading Kathi’s novel and I’ll see if I still need beta readers. :-)

  10. Intense excerpt! I had to read a couple of sentences twice, maybe just too much going on all at once.

    I have a couple of critique exchanges lined up already, but once those are out of the house, we could maybe also arrange one, if you’re still interested. :)

    • Thanks Ruth. I’m doing a fine edit of Time Shifters at the moment so I will take another look at this scene. Thanks too for the offer of a critique exchange – just let me know when you’re available and I’ll see if I still need a beta reader. :-)

  11. I wish I had the time!!! Like, I’m considering selling my children to make it (not really, but almost). If it were next month, I could.

    And talk about funny co-winky-dinks… I just finished reading a historical romance “about” the daughter of the Earl of Warwick that involved the Edward II (set in the late 1320’s). So, I had a deja vu moment.

    If you need anyone in October, I’m your woman. Promise? Please need me. Stupid September.

    • Ah Gloria, stupid September indeed! I’ve kind of got myself working to a tight schedule which is why it pretty much needs to be September for beta reading – thanks for the October offer though!

      I’ve just recently finished watching the TV series The White Queen set during the Wars of the Roses and was very interested in the bits set in 1471 when part of Time Shifters takes place.

      Hope you find more time soon without having to sell your kids… 😉

  12. and it all goes up in smoke…or rather flames! Great descriptions here of what’s going on and the ensuing chaos. Love it.

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