View Full Version : Looking for a deaf beta reader for m/m erotica

10-10-2012, 05:30 PM
Okay, so I know this is a big ask! :) I've recently finished the first draft of a m/m shapeshifter novella with a deaf MC. Though I'm fairly confident about the other aspects, I feel I could really use a member of the deaf community to look through it and make sure I haven't made any appalling goofs.

Flirt is a 35k m/m erotica romance. (and the following is not a polished pitch!)

Toby is content with his life: catching fish, selling them, catching some more. Maybe it's not very exciting, but ever since he lost his hearing and his mother to meningitus in his teens he hasn't cared much for excitement. It's only when he hauls up a very strange catch indeed that he realises how quiet his life has become. The selkie calls himself Flirt - not so much a name as a warning - and Toby can't tell how genuine their connection is. When Flirt is kidnapped by xenobiologists Toby throws himself after his lover with a reckless abandoned he'd forgotten he possessed. He can only hope his self-discovery has come in time to save Flirt from the lab table.

Toby is in his late twenties and lives with his father in a rural seaside community in the North of England. They run the local fishmongers. Toby lost the majority of his hearing in his early teens through meningitus (and also lost his mother at the same time). He and his father use BSL (or possible SSL?) to communicate. Toby does have a hearing aid, but due to bad experiences in his teens he prefers not to use it.

I could really use someone with some experience of hearing aids to check whether I've represented the impact putting one in has. I don't haven't given a particular time period for the book, but it's post colour TV and pre everyone's got internet - I know hearing aids have come on significantly recently, but I'm thinking Toby's early experiences were with large, clunky aids (the sort with a battery pack you kept in your top pocket), which probably narrows the date down more than I'm aware. Whatever he's using at the time of the story is probably from the NHS, so pretty cheap and straightforward.

Flirt is a selkie. In the story's mythology, selkies are mute, though they can make basic barking noises. Flirt picks up sign language very quickly - partly due to his supernatural nature and partly to having been exposed to it at a young age (probably too young to really remember being exposed to it) as his mother was also a selkie and used BSL to communicate. Again, I could really use someone who knows about the structure of BSL and how someone might use it when they're only just learning. I've signed up for an online course, but I don't know how reflective that will be of what I'm going for.

10-10-2012, 07:12 PM

I'm really close on this one, but once again the Atlantic has distanced us and allowed irreconcilable differences.

One of my college short stories was "The Selkie and the Smokejumper."

My older sister was born deaf, so I learned American Sign Language (ASL) as I learned to talk. Alas, ASL and BSL are worlds an ocean apart.

After decades of worsening hearing, the last with progressively more powerful hearing aids, I can side with Toby about not wanting to wear them.

It's such a relief to remove them for bath and bed, because they can rub sores. Most amplify annoying "cafeteria" clatter but need to be cranked up to barely hear what people say. Mine were worn as an adult, but I know kids with even the smallest of devices are often teased unmercifully.

Good luck finding your BSL beta.