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.

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