Hayley Soon by Andrew Henley (Transgressive Fiction)

Andrew Henleys ‘sophomore’ novel ‘Hayley Soon’ follows the story of Korean-american trans girl – Hayley Soon – as she tries to decide what direction to take her life in.

Joined by a colourful cast of characters – Cleo, who does her best to keep Hayley grounded is my favourite’ – this is a book you won’t be able to put down until the very end!

Goodreads summary:
Hayley Soon is the tale of a Korean-American transgirl with a fractured mental health, obsession with pop culture, cosplay and a rapidly declining interest in her studies.
Featuring movies, music and a diverse cast all entangled in themes so dark you’ll need a flashlight, Hayley Soon puts the trans in transgressive fiction.

My rating: 5*

So, I had the honor of beta-reading Hayley Soon last year, and even in its raw state, I was able to see how much potential it had! Potential which Andrew was able to bring with the finished copy!

It’s definitely one of those books you won’t be able to stop yourself from thinking about when you finally put it down!

Even now I have moments where I see the world differently because of the things said in this book. It certainly opens your eyes in more ways than one!

Which, I think is because Hayley isn’t the sort of characters to wear any rose tinted glasses and she see’s the world as it is, along with all it’s flaws and injustice – just as much as she does with herself!

And that, in turn, makes Hayley a character you can relate too in the first two pages! She’s real, and I think it just makes what she goes through all that more painful and ‘real’ for the reader!

It’s a fun novel, especially with all the pop-culture references and cosplaying antics, but at its core, it looks at some pretty dark themes – dark enough you’ll need a flash-light – but with a cast of ‘grounded’ characters behind Hayley, it doesn’t feel as if all is lost.

This book made me cry, laugh, think and even get mad (in a good way)

What else could you want from a book?

And, at just 99p on amazon kindle, or at just £8.99 for the paperback, you can read this book too!

And, don’t forget, if you live in or near Newcastle, on the 2nd June 2018, Andrew is having a belated book launch at Newcastle City Library for Hayley Soon!

He’s currently looking for writers and authors to go on a panel, so, if your interested, make sure to get in contact with him through either his instagram or website!

But until then though guys,

Just Keep Writing,

Jade x

Reasons You Should Be Beta-Reading

So, in my last blog post, I talked about my own experiences as a beta-reader and today, I’m gonna give you a few reasons why you should be a beta-reader too! (Whether your a writer or not).

We’re just gonna jump straight in to it!

  • You get free books!

Now, this might not be one of the best reasons – it sounds kind of selfish actually, but essentially, you could be reading the foundations of a best-seller and you might not even know! You might even find your next favourite read – and, you can call yourself the starter of the original fandom!

  • You don’t feel so alone!

When I first started beta-reading, I was worried that the manuscripts I would read would be absolutely flawless. I felt like my writing wasn’t going to compare – at all. I essentially expected books that could be put on the shelves tomorrow, and sell-out within days – and I think those were just my own insecurities and self-doubt getting the better of me – because, they weren’t flawless, they weren’t perfect. They had potential, they had everything they need to be a good, even great book, but they still needed help, and it just reminds you that absolutely everyone is in the same boat as you at one point or another!

  • You get better at critiquing stuff (including your own)!

This is an obvious one (and sort of carries on from the last)! The more you beta-read, the easier it gets. You start to understand what your role is, what your looking out for, and if your able to analyse and critique someone else’s writing, it becomes all the easier to critique and analyse your own! It’s surprising how many things you will notice that just seem so obvious to you, but, you’ve done the exact same in yours too!

  • You can explore different genres!

Beta-reading doesn’t always come in the way or genre you might prefer, but, it gives you the opportunity to try new things, to read and explore genres that perhaps you don’t feel like picking up at the book store. There’s some that I never would have picked up. I would look at the blurb and think ‘No, that’s not for me – it’s not the typical genre that I like’, but with beta-reading, it’s can be about looking at things that are different to what you like, to sort of give your two-cents on whether it might even convert you. I know a lot of mine have now.

  • You become a part of the ‘journey’!

Beta-readers can be invaluable aspects of a books development. They can make a book great, or they can slam it in to the ground. Their usually the first people that the writer has shown their work too, and, that in itself is an honor, because, if your a writer, you know how hard it can be to let your baby go.

  • You meet amazing people!

So, to follow on from the last one. The people you beta-read for can become a staple in your life. Whether it’s over the internet or in real-life, being a part of their journey means a lot to them – and it will to you too – and, they are people that perhaps you might not have got to know so well if you hadn’t!

A writers unspoken duty is to support other writers, so, get out there and help a fella out!


If you have any other reasons why you should try your hand at beta-reading, I’d love to hear from you!

Until then though,

Just Keep Writing,

Jade x

A Beta-Readers Experience

Before last year, I had never read someone elses novel in an unpolished state!

To be honest, I hadn’t really met any other writers who wrote novels, so, all in all, the whole of last year – writer community wise – was a first for me, but that’s another post for another day!

I’ve always been the one who my friends look to, to look over their work. I can be quite a good proofreader when I try, and pair that with a love of reading books, and helping out my fellow writers, I think beta-reading just appealed to me in a way I’d never expected it too!

The first time I beta-read – a retelling of both ‘The Little Mermaid’ & ‘Cinderella’ called ‘Melody’ by Penny Kearney (which should be out sometime this year) – I feel like I came up short a little if I’m honest. I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing, and, although, I answered all of the questions – and highlighted a few flow problems – I liked it too much to say anything bad about it!

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If I looked back at it now, now I’ve sort of realised what my role actually is, I’m sure I’d find characters that need a bit more development, and maybe some more sections that didn’t make all that much sense, but, you have to start somewhere, right?

The next novel I got to beta-read was by someone I met whilst doing my #LetsWriteNaNoWriMo challenge! During the challenge, I learned all about the novel that ‘Andrew Henley’ was editing – called Hayley Soon – and when it came around to him needed beta-readers, I knew I had to take the plunge and see what it was all about!

I didn’t have a clue what to expect – not really – but I’m so glad I answered that question in his comments section! With Hayley Soon, I feel like I was able to give a lot more, and with my feedback, I just sort of ‘let loose’ a little and I’d question this and that, and I can be sarcastic as hell sometimes – which doesn’t come off too great in text – but I feel like I was actually able to help in that development, you know?

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And, I think, as you read more manuscripts, as you read more books, you do get better.

Much like writing!

And, I think, as a writer, you give something different to beta-reading than you would if you were just a reader, you know!

The next one I got to read was the first 20,000 words of an epic fantasy, and like Hayley Soon, I had my thoughts and opinions down. I knew what it was I should be looking out for, you know?

And I don’t think you can teach it to people, the more you do it, I think, the better you become. Practice makes perfect and all that, you know?

At the start of this 2018, I got to beta-read two more in January, one was about a cannibal, which was an experience in itself! And the second was from a total stranger.

You see. I had a message through instagram; this person asking me if I’d like to beta-read their book, and, after telling me what it was about and all that, I said yes.

It’s very unique, this manuscript, it’s a contemporary that looks at some very delicate aspects in the western world right now. It’s definitely going to make people think – and it’s definitely going to be one of those that people either love or they hate.

I love it, and Z, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting for that chapter!

At the moment, I’m reading another fantasy – which is more nordic and viking like called Whispers of Savage Song by Ashley Earley and I have another Andrew Henley manuscript waiting in the docks called MIRI!

And, you know the best thing about this whole experience is when you see the books you beta-read get published! You were apart of something that means the world to someone.

Andrew Henleys ‘Hayley Soon‘ and Allen Dark’s cannibalistic novel ‘The Black Heart‘ can now both be found on Amazon, and I encourage you to go read them both! Completely different, but completely worth it!

And, until next time guys,

Just Keep Reading (Or even better; beta-reading),

Jade x