Archive | June 2021

When You’re Too Scared to Publish

So, I’ve written over 12 books and countless short stories, but I actually have two finished novels sitting in my computer that I don’t have the nerve to publish.

How weird is that, right? But it’s true. The reason is because these two novels have an angle to them that my other books don’t. #1 they are violent… and #2 they are “spicy.” So spicy and violent that I had an editor who worked with this genre read the one called A LIFE TAKEN and told me, “It’s good, but even I might have nightmares.” OMG. What exactly does that mean? Is that good? I have also had beta readers take a peek at the other novel, tentatively titled TAKEN, and they have nice things to say as well – that said, both books need some serious editing, but it’s the core of each of the novels that concerns me. What will readers think OF ME if they read them? So many times a reader thinks that the author truly believes in the things they write. Does that mean I love violence, love watching terrible things happen to people? I don’t, but we must always remember, this is a fictional story.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child get a lot of flack for the amount of dogs that seem to get killed in their books. I spoke to Douglas about it once at a book signing we attended together and he said it best. “No fictional dogs were actually killed in this fictional book.” We make things up. That’s what authors do.

It’s like an actor getting into a role. They can be the meekest person on earth, but then onscreen they are an extraverted vixen! It’s like that with writing. I had this idea in my head and said, “You know what? Write it, get out of my comfort zone, and see where it goes!”

So, they’re written and yet I don’t have the guts to publish them. But, here’s part of the beginning to A LIFE TAKEN. Its rough – REALLY ROUGH, Don’t bother editing for me. I just felt like if I started to tell the world about this novel, perhaps I’d get the guts to work on it and publish it.

A LIFE TAKEN is about a little girl kidnapped by an “evil entity/corporation” because her parents, who were spies working for them, were caught lying. This girl was sent to a location and schooled on becoming an assassin of the highest order. But, they had to break her down until she was nothing but a mindless killer. Until she had no more emotion left. Until she was nothing but a hollow shell.

Mommy!” That was all I could utter before a strange man me and picked me up hoisted me over his back. I felt my stomach thump hard onto his shoulder and I couldn’t breathe. He bolted out of my house and carried me like I was nothing but a sack of garbage while my father ran by his side and pleaded with him to let me go.

     My mother screamed and fell to her knees while the man hauled me into the car. The baby doll I carried dropped to the pavement and I heard the porcelain head crack and shatter.

     I kicked and shrieked, but a woman inside the car grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. I tried to bite her and she smacked me hard in the face. Sobbing, I turned to the window, seeing my sister Elizabeth standing next to my brother and other sister, in shock.

     I shivered violently. It was cold that day and the man hadn’t bothered to get my jacket. The woman reached over and grabbed the harness and locked me in and I couldn’t move. I spit at her and she smacked me again, this time harder and I saw stars. The next few minutes were a whirlwind of horror. My mother racing to the car and throwing herself onto my kidnapper. Her raking her nails down his cheeks and him punching her. She fell to the pavement, got up and lunged again, swerving by him and slamming her hands into the glass window next to me. She beat against the glass, begging them to let me go. That she “was sorry.”

     I lifted my hands, calling for her through my tears. My father was behind her, fighting with someone and I saw one of them take a gun and hit him in his temple. Someone else grabbed my mother and threw her to the ground.

     Car doors opened and slammed as others filled the vehicle. One man shoved himself next to me and the other jumped into the front seat and took the wheel.  The man next to me took out his gun and trained it on my mother, who had yet again made it to the car door.  In English he spoke to my parents, in an accent I later learned was German. “It’s your own fault this happened. You have no one to blame but yourselves for this. Did you think they would simply allow you to go against them? Now she’s ours as punishment. If you don’t want to lose the rest of them, I suggest you start obeying orders. They won’t give any of you a second chance.”

     And with that, the car sped away and my life as I knew it was over. I had one last look at my family standing in the front yard of our house, my sisters and brothers stunned, my parents bleeding and crying. I remember the look in my mother’s eyes and it took me until I was older to understand what her haunted expression meant. Back then, I thought she was just sad, but I realized it was so much more than that. She was devastated, horrified and fearful for me. For she knew what the Dasien were capable of.     

And she would be right.

Well, folks, there is novel #1 put out to the universe. Now, let’s see what I do with it. Have any of you had this sort of quandary with your own work? Love to hear how you got the guts to release it to the world.

Conquering Your Fears

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve met so many people that absolutely refuse to do things. Things that would actually make them happy, but they don’t, because they are scared. I have someone older, close to me, that refuses to use a computer, or an IPAD. They love to shop, they love to play games, they love to watch old movies and see photos and connect with people, but the fear of learning, or even touching, that device is simply too terrifying for them.

I know someone else who struggles with their health and refuses to exercise (or do more than walking casually) over fear they “won’t feel well,” or that “they’ll do too much” and then won’t feel well. This real fear stops them from doing things they sometimes will casually say, “I wish I were able to do that.”

Fear is a real thing. It’s so easy for us to just say “Oh, suck it up and just do it,” but if the mind is not ready to commit, the body simply won’t follow. Fear can stall you and cause intense distress. I started a new job this year and they mailed me a Mac, and told me we were using Slack, Googlemeets, Googlemail, etc. I’m a big PC Microsoft Office girl. Microsoft Teams. I can do Excel and Powerpoint like a pro. Using Word is as simple as breathing for me. But suddenly at 53, while I’m sitting in my attic office, alone, I’m frozen in fear as I attempted to figure out how to even turn on my Mac. People kept telling me “It’s intuitive and so easy,” but honestly things are only easy if you know what you’re doing. Add on the stress of Covid and there was no one that could even come over and sit with me to help me navigate and learn. I had to google and watch videos over and over to simply learn tricks. The fear at the beginning was palpable and I begged my company to send me a regular PC. But, I have a good friend (and my daughter) who both told me to “stop being such a big baby, and just learn it.” They were right. I was doing exactly the opposite of what I preach. I took 1000 deep breaths, told myself it’s okay if don’t become an expert at this immediately (or over the next month), and just try and learn. I’m a few months into the job and things are better. At least I can navigate around and I won’t lie, I pat myself on the back and congratulate myself when I can actually find a specific email I haven’t touched in a few weeks. It’s NOT as intuitive as everyone under the age of 30 says, but I’m handling it.

Fear is about just “doing it.” Trying, attempting. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be an expert and it’s okay if the learning curve is slow.

I joined an open water swim group last summer. I’m not a great swimmer at all and I was amazed I put myself in a situation where I was going into an open bay, and swimming longer distances than I normally do. I’m not even sure why I did it, but the thrill was there for me and I thought, “why not?” I was trying to become a better swimmer and the idea of using a wetsuit and swimming in open water kind of made me feel a bit like a badass. So, I did it. Was I slow? Oh yeah. But I got stronger. Last night was the first night this year when I rejoined the group. Look at this photo and tell me that taking the chance, swallowing my fear, wasn’t the right choice? How beautiful is that scene? I was again in the slower group, which was FINE. There were four of us, with our own wonderful couch on a paddleboard watching and paddling nearby to make sure we were safe. And I know that even though every single time I step into that bay I have a tingle of fear, I also know that I’m doing something that will feed my soul and make me healthier. I also know how absolutely lucky and fortunate I am that I have the ability to even do this.

Do you do anything that you fear? Love to hear why you do it, how you conquer it, and what you get out of it.