As edits begin, I just want to brush my teeth and pee

Have you ever awakened in your dreams to a house full of people only to realize you are still in your PJs with unbrushed teeth and super serious bedhead? If you haven’t, I am glad for you because, in this dream, I am forced into a hostess role without even the chance to pee. It is not fun.

I am publicly exposed at my worst.

As editing begins this month on A Dead Man’s Eyes, the first book in my Lisa Jamison mystery/suspense series, I am excited. Good edits will only make my book a better experience for readers. I look forward to the improvements, which will bring me one step closer to publication day. But, as the editing period nears, that dream, an old one for me, has slipped back into my early morning playlist.

I don’t need an expert to interpret my dream. I am nervous. I am worried about exposing my words to the world only to realize that I failed to groom them, that they are without nuance, without the minty breath of a fresh voice. I fear that I will open the door to readers and reviewers before they are ready. I am guessing other authors have had different versions of this same dream, especially during the editing process of their debut novels.

I trust the editors at Level Best Books. I know they won’t let people into our house before my book is groomed and ready, but my nerves are not easily steadied by such assurances. That’s okay though. I would rather be nervous than overconfident. A good dose of nerves will only make me a better writer. For that reason, I hope I never lose these pre-release jitters.  I wouldn’t mind losing the dream though, or at least treating myself to a dreamy shower, a tube of Colgate and a pee break before my guests arrive.

This blog post is an excerpt from my October newsletter, which features an interview with debut historical author Hilary Hauck, thoughts on writing from mystery author Gabriel Valjan and photos of our new puppy dog, Lola May. You can find the newsletter here and subscribe here to make sure future newsletters come directly to your inbox.

When censorship can be a good thing.

When I started blogging nearly three years ago, I thought that the platform would provide me with a certain level of freedom. Finally, I would be able to express my thoughts, my opinions, my views on the world uncensored.
No editors.
No worries.
But that was not so.
Too many triggers for my passions are connected with indivuals, individuals I care about, people I don’t want to hurt. Others are triggered by anger that, if expressed without proper evidence and purpose, could create some excellent lawsuit material for the offending parties.
Finally, there are bridges I cannot afford to burn.
Yet I see it happen every day.
Bloggers bash without consideration of consequence. They reveal private information that belongs to others without consent. They hurt other people and they hurt themselves. They forget, perhaps, that once words are distributed on the Internet, they are impossible to take back.
Twenty, thirty, forty years from now, they will remain.
One blogger in particular affected me deeply.
She wrote on an online forum about complaints from her children. They had pleaded with her to stop brutally ridiculing them in her blog for the sake of page views. She refused to stop, arguing that as long as her children lived under her roof, she had the right to reveal whatever she chose. Her blog wouldn’t be funny without them, she wrote.
I’m betting that she won’t be blogging the exploits of her grandchildren.
She won’t be allowed to know them.
Another woman wrote honestly and humerously about the end of a long-term relationship. Her name and location were part of her profile. The blog was popular, so popular that it inspired her to write a book about ending relationships. Her book is selling well.
But she had to end the blog when strangers tracked down her ex-boyfriend and threatened him. The world is full of sick people, sadly, and many of them are addicted to the Internet.
So, I vent here and I write about raising our twins on my other blog, but I am always careful. My older children have declined to be included in any blogs and I respect that. My twins will decide what happens to their blog when they are old enough to understand. Until then, I write about them in a way that might help other parents of identical twins.
I am not free to write without care because I do care.
I am own editor.
And when I think about topics for my posts, I follow two rules: I must write as if everyone in the world will read it and I must ponder how it will play out several years into the future. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing as long as we don’t abuse it.