Want to be an author? Use your own effin’ words!

Wow. Just wow. You would think I would learn by now, but no. I keep popping my head out of the sand, taking a look around, and ultimately wishing I hadn’t! Holy bat shit, Robin. The whole damn world has gone crazy.

I don’t even know where to start this time. My thoughts are all over the place. It seems some recently released book was, in large part, plagiarized. Not just from one best-seller, but two. Maybe even more. *blinks* Say whaaaa?  http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/the-plagiarizing-of-tammara-webbers-easy-by-jordin-williams/

The real kicker—this book was doing really well. It was seeing the kind of numbers I only see in my dreams.

I feel horrible for the authors who took the time to create their own stories, who poured their heart and soul into their characters, and busted their asses to get where they are—only to have someone else turn around and steal large portions of their work. It sickens me. It makes me want to turn insta-Seb on their behalf and bust out the SKALS team, helicopters and all.

I find this infuriating. You just don’t DO that. Ever. I’ve been sitting on a fighter story for three years now. It’s next in line after SKALS. I won’t even touch another book about fighters of any kind until mine is done because I don’t want to take the smallest chance that something I read might influence me, even subconsciously. Apparently, I’ve missed out on some really great stuff, too—but that’s the way it goes.

There’s research—there’s drawing inspiration—and then there’s just taking things too damn far.

I don’t care how callous you are. How could you possibly feel an ounce of pride in yourself or your work after ripping someone else off? How could that possibly make you feel like you’re good at what you do or that you accomplished something? I’m not talking about the smug feeling you get when you do something devious and get away with it. I’m talking about the pure, unadulterated, and exhilarating rush you feel when you finally finish a book.

It’s the same feeling you get when you’ve poured every ounce of effort and determination into something, given it all you had, and finally accomplished a goal. It’s like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. The feeling is indescribable.

I don’t know how anyone could feel anything but shame and guilt after putting something out there that isn’t theirs. Soulless or not, could you really feel proud watching a book that you plagiarized climb the ranks? After all, it’s not your story or your writing that they love. It’s somebody else’s. I would think, somewhere in the back of that person’s addled little brain, that notion would always be there. At least, I certainly hope so.

They jipped themselves. They betrayed their readers in a way that is beyond unforgivable. They wounded some of their own. As competitive as the market is, many writers look out for one another. We stick together. We bond and form families of sorts, friendships that will last a lifetime, because so few people truly understand us and what we go through.

This plagiarist climbed the rankings at a furious pace, breaking well into the top 300 on Amazon in a few days. They will never know if they could have climbed that mountain on their own. Maybe they could’ve been something spectacular. Maybe their ideas could have left people breathless. Their words could have inspired and made readers fall in love. Instead, their career is ruined before it ever had a chance to start. They will never know what they could have accomplished on their own or what that feels like.

That side of it is sad. The side where somebody crawled down into the ninth circle of hell and sold their soul without even giving their self a fair shot. Maybe it’s easier to say because I’m not in that position, but I think I would rather write a hundred books and there not be a single person on the face of the planet who’s ever read my work than stoop to that level. After all, at the end of the day, I write for me—because I have to—because it’s what I love to do. Because if I didn’t, I would simply cease to breathe.

Life is hard. There’s no denying that. We all have goals we set for ourselves. We all have things we want to accomplish, and most of us will keep going and do whatever we have to do to get there. It’s called ambition and drive. There is no shame in feeding that hunger, as long as steps you are taking are your own.

We are all unique. We all have something to offer this world. We all have worth. It’s our job to let it shine. Don’t ever sell yourself short. I keep saying this, but every time I turn around, someone makes me feel the need to say it again:

Be bold. Be brave. Be fearless. Be YOU.

No matter what happens, that is something you can still be proud of in the end.

*end rant* GAH!

~Best wishes and much love~




Release Day! Bound by Vengeance (SKALS #2)

After weeks of endless stress, revisions, and far too many sleepless nights, the second book in the SKALS series is done! (Hence the reason for my prolonged blog silence.)


I just want to take a quick moment to say thank you. Thank you to anyone who ever bought one of my books. Thank you for reading. Thank you for the reviews, e-mails, or comments you send my way on various forums. It doesn’t get any better than that. Readers truly are the heart and soul of anything a writer does. You make us  feel good, and you let us know what we can do better–or at least strive to achieve next go around.

Rather than bore you with details, I thought I’d share an interview and review from one said reader. It gives some insight into both books and the characters, along with the concept behind SKALS (Special Kill and Leverage Squad) & other things you might not know. She posed some very tough questions! I’d love to say more, but I’m exhausted and drained…but in a totally good way. Totally good.


~Much love and happy haunting


Sinister Kisses Release ~ AKA New Year, New Me

At the end of 2012, I realized I needed a change. I was stuck, stalled, my creative mind and spirit dulled. It was time for me to recharge. I think all writers go through this from time to time. As people, we are ever growing, ever changing, and ever learning. Or at least we should be. Rather than sit back on my laurels and whine and bemoan my situation, I took charge–and surrendered all in the same breath. I followed my passion, and from that passion, a new novel was born. I hate to say it, but this is the most fun and  I’ve had writing in years:

Sinister Kisses

After a chance encounter in the woods leaves her shaken and reeling, the last thing Taylor McAvay wanted to do was accept an invitation to dinner. Then again, after seeing what Sebastian Baas was capable of, she felt she had little choice. The guy did just save her life, and the feel of his partner’s assault rifle pressed against her cheek still lingered in her mind.

What she discovers surprises her. Beneath the armor and fatigues, is a smart, attentive, and sophisticated man. Unable to resist, Taylor finds herself drawn in by the Special Agent’s charm. Everything about Sebastian, from his imposing presence to his hypnotic eyes, pulls her under his spell. When a drive by shooting leaves her apartment riddled with bullets, she falls under his command as well—not to mention the shadow of a lethal, underground organization known as SKALS.

Her lover has a dark and dangerous side he tries to keep hidden, but when a series of events sends their lives spiraling out of control, she realizes there is much more to him than meets the eye. His moods can be dizzying—his temper, terrifying. And when she fails to meet his expectations, the discipline she faces is a startling contrast to the pleasure he gives. Whether she wants to leave or not doesn’t matter. Taylor soon learns, when it comes to Sebastian and SKALS, there is no escape.

**DISCLAIMER** This is a dark erotic thriller with a heavy emphasis on plot. It contains elements of Dominance and discipline with dubious consent, psychological conditioning, and mental manipulation. There’s also gunfire, violence, and things that blow up. If any of this offends you, this is not the book for you.

And now a brief Q & A:


What the heck? I thought you were a horror or fantasy writer.

If you’ve ever read any of my bios, all I can say is you were warned. *laughs* I love dabbling in a wide variety of genres. I’ve written everything from angsty romance, erotica, horror, to drama. One of my biggest fears about publishing was being boxed in to one area for the rest of my life. While I love horror, sometimes, I need a break. I need to switch gears and recharge. While still dark in many ways, Sinister Kisses explores a different kind of darkness. Plus, it was hella fun to write!

Why not use a different name for the new series?

Simply put, I didn’t want to. I work hard on every single thing I put out there. It’s still the same blood, sweat, and tears going into the book. It’s still the same spirit. It’s still the same brand. (It’s dark. It’s angsty. It’s still about conflicted characters trying to find their way in this world and survive) In short, it’s still me. I’m just exploring and sharing a different aspect of myself. If that alienates anybody, I’m sorry. I truly am. I love you all, but that’s just the way it is. I also like to give my readers credit. They’re smart people. I KNOW they are capable of reading a description and deciding if a particular book would interest them or not.

Why isn’t Sinister Kisses through your previous publisher?

Good question. I have some very valid reasons, but it is not something I will discuss.

What does SKALS stand for?

It’s a standing joke between Mara McBain and I that it does not stand for Spanking Kink And Lots of Sex, though it could! It actually stands for Special Kill And Leverage Squad—a concept that’s revealed more thoroughly as the book progresses. It’s also explored in more depth in the second book, which will be released sometime in May.

And for those of you who have read my work or stumbled across me on the web and are asking “What the heck is wrong with you?” That is a long story and an even longer list of things–but feel free to kick back, grab a drink, and enjoy the ride. 😉

And that, my friends, sums it all up. I hope that you are all doing well and that 2013 is bringing you one step closer to achieving your dreams. Keep banging it out. Keep following that unique inner beat.

~Best wishes always~


In Search of Monsters: Q & A with Hunter Shea

Hey, Hunter. *grins* I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for stopping by. You’ve had a super busy schedule lately between releasing your novella Swamp Monster Massacre, and dealing with a nasty blow from Mother Nature. I’m so glad you and your family made it through alive and well! You’ll have to excuse me if I get a little giddy. It’s not often someone lets me out of my cage, and I’m a really big fan of your work. Now let’s get rocking!

Writers tend to have a unique outlook on things. Not too many people go through life, have something horrible happen, and shrug it off with a smile. A lot of us do that, because we know those events can be used as fodder. How often do you find yourself building off of real-life experiences (either good or bad) and implementing them in your work?

First, thank you for allowing me to loiter on your blog for a bit. Super Storm Sandy was kind enough to spare my house, but the devastation in NY has been apocalyptic. Parts of the city and suburbs look like Dresden. It’s going to take a long while before we fully come to grips with the scope of this storm.

My real life experiences find their way into my books and stories all of the time. I’ve been fortunate, or unfortunate, to have had several paranormal experiences in my life.

Those experiences and my childhood fascination with ghosts, monsters and aliens helped forge an entire career. I’m particularly fascinated with ghosts not only because of my experiences, but also because that is absolute proof of life, or a form of life, after death. I’d like to think there’s more to us than a few years puttering around this planet. I guess in a way I’m sticking to the ‘write what you know’ adage, and damn if it isn’t fun.

Fun for you and readers alike! What is your favorite book you’ve written so far and why?

Forest of Shadows will always be a personal favorite because it was the book I poured my soul into and the one that got me a career in horror writing. I’ll always be grateful of the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. I have to say, Swamp Monster Massacre was my favorite to write. I decided to have as much fun writing it as I hope people have had reading it. I got to explore my inner Tarantino and Nimoy and let their spirits dance on the page.

I read you got the idea for Swamp Monster Massacre after catching a glimpse of Sasquatch on TV. Of course, you wanted to make the monster your own and ran with it, putting a unique spin on things. I was really impressed with Evil Eternal. Not only was it fantastic horror, but it was fun. There were some great moments of levity and humor. Is this something you try to incorporate often?

Thank you! I’ve always wanted to write a Bigfoot book, and when I sat down to do my spin, I wanted it to be off-the-wall and as original as I could make it. Mobster, tourists, thugs and skunk apes. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Evil Eternal started as such a dark story that I felt I needed to lighten things up with characters like Shane and Cain. Hey, that rhymes! Even in real life, I tend to lean toward the comedic in everything around me, even the dark, awful stuff. Evil Eternal is so over-the-top and dramatic, it needed light touches here and there to ground it a bit. Notice I said ‘a bit’, because that book is wicked strange.

When it comes to horror, you want to bring your readers on a rolling wave of emotion. A little humor brings you down, leaves you vulnerable, then smash!, you ratchet the fear and suspense in an overwhelming swell of churning emotions that makes someone turn the next page with one eye squinted shut.

I’d just like to say, I found Michael’s character kind of hot. 😉

And here I created Shane for the ladies! I can see Father Michael’s appeal, if you like tall, deathly pale, hairless and quietly dangerous. At least now, I know your type. 😉

LOL! Tall, pale, and dangerous is awesome! Okay, back to being serious. If you were stuck in the Everglades with a bunch of skunk-apes from Swamp Monster Massacre, what five items would you want to have with you and why?

Great question. Here goes:
1.   A video camera so I could get proof that they exist and walk among us.
2.  A bazooka with unlimited rounds. I’m not taking any chances. When I shoot, I don’t want any of those murdering beasts to get up and come after me.
3.   Lots of coroner bags to collect the pieces and send them to various labs for analysis.
4.   A cooler loaded with ice and a case of Sapporo beer.
5.   A bundle of Excalibur cigars. This and the beer are to celebrate my capturing evidence of skunk apes and surviving their murderous wrath.

Those things seem insanely smart. I’ve always loved the intelligent foe. They add so much more intensity to a story. Speaking of, there’s some pretty wicked content in Swamp Monster. These beasts have no morals! Did your publisher flinch at any of the more taboo content?

My editor, Don D’Auria, grew up just like me, drawn to the same spooky movies and stories, so he was on board 100% with everything. I like to think that the creatures had some morality, in the fact that they were a family unit and cared for one another in their own special way. I wanted to show that revenge can cross species lines and how very much like us they are in that regard. Now, the way they went about things was a tad harsh, but hell, they worked with what they had.

That they do! So many writers struggle with fear and revulsion when they reach certain aspects of their story. I think a lot of readers endure this experience, too, and it’s such a huge part of the draw of horror. One part is screaming “You can’t do that!” The other is chuckling and roaring: “Don’t hold back!” Do you ever find it difficult to push certain envelopes when writing, or is it always just balls to the wall?

Maybe because I’m so jaded, I don’t worry about writing things that will offend people. Proof of that is in Evil Eternal where I murdered a baby 3 pages in. As a horror writer, you have to bust through the ‘you can’t do that!’ barrier and make your readers squeamish from time to time. Back in the 1930’s, just seeing Frankenstein’s face made people faint. Today, you have to bring a hell of a lot more to the table to even capture people’s attention. It’s a challenge for writers.

Excellent points. What can your audience expect from you in the future? Any exciting news or upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

I have a short story collection that I hope will be out around the holidays next month. My cover artist has shown me some great stuff, so I can’t wait to get that out. The sequel to Forest of Shadows, Sinister Entity, will be out in April, 2013 with Samhain Publishing.

There’s a short story called The Graveyard Speaks that will come out just before it to bridge the gap between the two books. I’m doing research right now for my next novel and have a ghost novella completed and ready to go to my publisher. There’s no rest for the weary, but I won’t complain. This has been everything I’d hoped for and more.

You can read more about Hunter and his quest for the dark and strange at his
website : www.huntershea.com
Twitter : @huntershea1
Facebook : www.facebook.com/huntershea1
YouTube : Monster Men 13 channel


Just Keep Going

No one ever told me it would be this hard. I thought writing the book was the difficult part. *laughs* Boy was I wrong. The last few months have been an absolute whirlwind. I’ve never exchanged so many e-mails or made so many business calls in my life. I’ve never been more excited for something to finally happen…or more scared.

And all of it has boiled down to this one lone minute. The minute where everything finally sinks in, and I realize: this is it. There’s no turning back now. Not that I want to. A million fiery horses couldn’t drag me away from seeing this dream through. Not now. Not ever.

But there’s this strange, surreal quality to everything. Some days, I feel as if I’m shuffling through life in a trance—terrified that something will jolt me and the walls of this carefully constructed fantasy will come crashing down around my feet in an instant. Nothing feels real right now. Nothing, that is but this maddening combination of unbridled excitement and sheer terror.

After months of editing, cover mock ups, e-mails, contracts, phone calls, and formatting….Requiem is heading to the printer. Everything is in place, ready to go…and I don’t know if I want to sing and dance my way through the city streets, or rock myself silly in the corner of my bathroom and throw up.

I guess the answer here is both.

And that I’m probably a little neurotic.

But it’s okay.

I’d be a liar if I said this moment never crossed my mind. All those years I spent writing like a mad woman until I thought my fingers would fall off, I had a small dream of having a published book. But to be honest, I never really thought that moment would come. I thought it was a pipedream. Something beautiful to cling to, a motivation to keep me going—something way beyond reach to strive for. It gave me hope, and fuel for the fire I used to feed my hunger for escape and words.

I wonder how many other people have yearned for the same. I wonder how many have tried to convince themselves their dreams, too, are impossible.

Nothing is impossible.

The world of self-publishing has opened so many doors. It’s proven there is a calling out there for new voices and ideas to be explored. Many small presses have flung open their doors in hopes of the same. No longer do authors have to sweat and toil with only the hope of a Big 6 to cling to. (Oh but you must still sweat and toil just as hard if you hope to succeed.) But now, there are so many other options, other venues to explore.

If you can dream it…you can do it. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Mass quantities of it. Hard time—because like anything else in life, you’re only going to bring back what you are willing to put in. And even then, there are no guarantees.

Maybe publishing is a lot like a weekend in Vegas. You stand at the table. Perhaps for a moment, you tremble with a combination of anticipation and fear. Maybe you blow on the dice or plant a kiss on them for good luck. Then you let go.

There are no guarantees where things will land. You could win big—you could take a loss. Either way, you’re in it for the long haul. And in that moment, that one beautiful moment where everything hangs suspended, you close your mind, wish for the best, and simply just breathe.

Then the hard work sets in again.

I’m not really sure what the point of this blog post is. Part of me just needed to blow off some steam and try to relax—to remind myself to take the moment in and savor it. The other part, the bigger one, is hoping that somewhere out there, someone is listening. Someone who is in doubt. Someone who doesn’t have the courage or belief in themselves to reach for the stars and seek what’s in their heart.

I want them to know…if I can do it, you can too.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Just keep going.

That’s all any of us can really do.

~Best wishes


The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

I have been tagged in The Next Big Thing by Jack Wallen. You know, the Zombie King? Writer of both humor (read his Tweets) and horror (read his books!) In this game of “Tag, You’re it” my current Work in Progress gets to be tagged and then I have to tag 5 other writers’ WIPs. Look for the five writers I have tagged at the bottom of this post – their “Next Big Thing” posts, should they choose to accept this mission, will be posted between the 24th and the 30th of September.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Requiem: Book of the Fallen

  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It all ties into that quote by Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

When I started writing Requiem, the market was flooded with vampires. (Especially those of the sparkling variety.) I love the idea of immortal creatures, but wanted to do something totally different. Angels and demons have always been a fascination of mine, and the bookstores hadn’t yet been inundated with either. And if they had, they were strictly those of the bare-chested beefcake sort that you find in the Romance sections, or the books fell under YA.

I had a different take, a different vision for these creatures in mind. You seldom see them portrayed as anything really sinister or destructive. I wanted to highlight the good and the bad, but in a way that had never been done before. Requiem is not a romance. It’s about the progressive march toward the end of the world. It’s a dark, seething tale about the eternal battle between good and evil and the part us humans play.

  3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a mash up of dark urban fantasy, horror, and post-apocalyptic reading. For adults!

  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, Jeez. I really fought doing this part, and it took me forever to scour the web for anyone even remotely close, but here you go:  The main character, Seir: Alexander Skarsgård.

I just haven’t seen anyone else that jumps out at me and says “I am Seir” like he has. He’s got this savage intensity and the ability to look at someone as if he is not only capable, but very much wanting to devour their soul. Plus he’s great at delivering cruel lines and sarcasm and that is a must have trait for this Fallen.

Ava: Sophia Bush.

Ava has that girl-next-door quality and a quiet vulnerability, but she’s also full of strength and fire.

Gabriel: Chris Hemsworth

This character is full of compassion, confidence, authority, and inner fortitude. But when he gets mad…watch out. Hemsworth has the perfect accent and voice for this noble Arch.

Zeruch: Kellan Lutz or Taylor Kinney.

Zeruch is the angel of strength. He’s not afraid of confrontation. (In fact, he seems to enjoy it where Seir is concerned.) I picture a physically strong fighter. And though he’s beautiful, he’s not as mature or experienced as Gabriel. There are big plans for this character in the sequel.

Samael: JulianMcMahon

would be excellent. Something about him always makes me nervous.

Valdric:  Logan Lerman.

Don’t let those youthful and innocent looks fool you. This ancient being has bent the ears of Kings with a mere whisper and danced through the streets of a fallen Rome as she burned.

Naamah: Christina Hendricks.

She’s curvy, redheaded, and drips sex appeal. Who better to play this conniving succubus?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Mankind has failed; the battle for our soul has begun.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Requiem will be released in October through a small press.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

8 months total write time—but I took a 10 month hiatus in the middle of scribbling to move and complete other projects. Plus there was time off for research. Lots and lots of research went into this book. Then endless bouts of polishing, editing, and revising followed!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t really come across anything similar yet. Then again, I’ve been avoiding reading anything along these lines while writing it. Requiem is…dark. There’s no getting around that. There’s some pretty horrifying stuff in it, too. If there is anything along a similar vein in fiction, I would love to read it!

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

To say my muse sounds so cliché, but it’s true. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of angels, both good and fallen, and the “Walkers” said to roam among us. As for my inspiration, I definitely have a devil whispering in one ear and an angel in the other. The book originally started out from Zeruch’s POV. I woke up one day, and Seir just took over. He demanded his voice be heard and he’s been here to stay ever since. Ohh, lucky me! *laughs*

I don’t know that anything other than my warped mind and characters prompted me to write this. But during the creative process, I listened to a lot of dark instrumentals from independent artists like Adrian Von Zeigler and Brunuhville. Listening to them helped me envision scenes, set the tone, and keep moving. I also burned lots of Vampire Blood. Lots and lots of Vampire Blood.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite the angels and demons, it really doesn’t tap into religion. It’s not specific to any one faith or belief, and I did this on purpose. I wanted Req to be a book that everyone could read and hopefully enjoy.

  • With the exception of Valdric and Ava, all of the other characters are based on specific entities and listed traits. In fact, Seir or Seere, is the only demon or Fallen stated to have a ‘good nature’ with an indifferent attitude toward evil. Ahh, you see potential conflict already, don’t you darlings?
  • While there is plenty to be scared of (the least of which is being attacked by unseen forces) Req has a few redeeming qualities as well. There’s an underlying theme of friendship and the power it gives to keep pushing through. It might even have a romantic moment or two.
  • I’ve been told Seir is quite humorous. He’s a bit sarcastic and not too fond of our species.
  • This may be a drawback for some, but this will be the first in at least a three part book series. These are characters you can sit back and grow attached to in either your fondness or your loathing. (If something doesn’t kill them off first, that is.)
  • Requiem is something different. It definitely has its own flavor and a unique cast. Spoiler: unlike every other movie with angels out there IE: Legion and the Prophecy series, Gabriel is not a bad guy! (I love my Gabe *smiles*)

Now for the tags! Get ready, MaraMcBain, Thomas James Brown, Hunter Shea, J. Marie Ravenshaw, and James Garcia, Jr! You’re next!

Editors: Satan or Savior?

Some of you may have noticed I’m not haunting my usual stomping grounds as much as I used to. The reason for that is simple. I’ve been up to my ears in editing!

Editors are always a hot topic among writers. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen or heard someone complain, I’d be sitting pretty by now on millionaire’s row. We’ve all heard the long list of gripes ranging from “they don’t get my story” to “they nitpick every little thing.” You hear horror stories about these people, and somewhere in the back of your mind the fear starts to grow. You wonder what sort of monsters wait lurking around the bend. Images of hideous beasts with hooked talons for fingers start cropping up left and right. Then…the day comes when you learn your story is going to be passed along to…*gasp*…an editor.

*cue creepy music*

The nightmares start, lingering well into the daylight hours. You toss and turn, wondering how your precious baby will fare at the hands of such a murderous stranger. You cringe, thinking about the blood bath certain to follow. Days pass. You lose weight, hair, and any quick glimpse in a mirror makes you wonder if perhaps you suddenly aren’t half raccoon.

These are all the things I’d expected. The day my publisher called to tell me my edits were waiting in my inbox, I almost got sick. I’d just finished eating dinner, and I was certain that spaghetti was going to come back up as I clicked the link with trembling hands. I shook like a junky going through major withdraws.

Then, a funny thing happened. I started reading through the long list of comments. After a minute, some of the tension started to ebb. Eventually I sagged with open relief. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected!

Don’t get me wrong. My book was not perfect. Far from. But, my editor posed a lot of questions. She made me think even more about the how and why behind the story. She pointed out things that I thought were clear as I was writing…but in hindsight, to readers, perhaps not so much. Not to mention a few things that made me burst into a fit of laughter.

Example: “Such a pretty girl,” it leered, the words spoken backwards in a guttural nuance.

The depraved growl made my blood run cold. As if to prove its point, the dresser swung out from the wall and crashed against my legs, pinning me as Ava’s shirt crept higher. A red wheal erupted across her abdomen.

My editor’s comment: “It’s proving Ava is pretty by hurling dressers at Seir?”

Oops! LOL See what I mean? I knew what I was trying to convey here, but THAT was NOT it! Maybe it would have made sense to a lot of readers, as is. But, I am guessing the vast majority (especially you more analytical and writerly types) would have been scratching their heads and laughing at my blunder. *blush*

Good call, editor! Good call.

Reading through the list of edits, I realized certain things. I have a strong tendency to cling to certain words or phrases. Lyrical beauty only goes so far when if you are beating people over the head with the same thing over and over again! There were places where the whys and hows of my mythos were not explained enough. There were places where my prose became a little too purple. Thankfully, I only had an occasional missing word or typo. Truth be told, I still felt bad…but not for me. For my poor editor who had to point out every single last one of these flaws. Flaws that I thought I’d buffered out over the course of two revisions. Boy was I wrong!

And damn am I glad I didn’t decide to go at this on my own. (I obviously didn’t know as much as I thought I did!)

A lot of editors get a bad rep. Maybe some of them earn that badge. I really don’t know. I can only speak from my own personal experience here, but I love mine. Tanya was efficient and nothing if not thorough. Though there were a lot of comments or questions…they all made sense. I knew halfway through, this was going to make a HUGE difference in my story. One that I would be proud of once all the extra hours of work were done. (Dear God, do I wish they were done!)

In fact, I called my publisher the next day, gushed over my editor like a giddy schoolgirl, and practically begged for the same person to do my sequel once it’s done. You cannot imagine my relief when she laughed and told me “that was the plan.”

I’ve heard of others who were not so fortunate, and left feeling resentful after their experience. I recently read a blog where an author was stunned that her editor wanted a pivotal part of her story removed. I have a friend who relies on his editor to weed through, as he puts it, his “endless pages of shit” (which really, reading his work, I find it hard to believe he produces anything of the sort…) But maybe that is the point. Perhaps his editor is just really good at their job. And maybe he is really good at his, right down to being able to set his ego aside when all is said and done and go with the flow.

I’m new to this whole publishing an entire book thing. The experience is vastly different from the ones I’ve had with my short stories. (Maybe I just have that arena a bit more down pat.) But it is not one I would change for anything. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and thus had a chance to grow. I can see both weaknesses and strengths, thanks to the time and effort a stranger has poured into my work.

That, to me, is priceless.

So what are your thoughts on editors? Have your experiences been good or bad? Are editors Satan or Savior when it comes to you and your writing?

I, for one, wouldn’t dare brave this world without one!

~Best wishes and happy haunting!~