Me: Exposed

You know how models make a big deal about posing in magazines without makeup or Photoshop? As much as we like to bust on them for it, I get it. Fooling us into thinking they are more genetically evolved than us is how they make their money. And goading you into thinking I am an (HYPERBOLE ALERT) off-the charts intellect who poops several flawless novels a year is how I make mine. But I have a behind-the-scenes team, too. They just care more about making my words look pretty than my… everything else.

Here’s how:

Once upon a time I became a huge outliner. I still spend months and dozens of pages drafting my outline so the story and structure are tight before I begin. I have my editor, Erin, comment on my outline before I begin writing so any big picture changes can be done early. That way I am not dealing with daunting revisions that have me rewriting pages and pages.

After I finish my first draft Alisha gives it a once-over. Then Erin reads it for notes on the characters and story while Barbara reads it for spelling, grammar, and facts that I (Google) might have messed up. Then I make those changes and send back draft two.

After that, I celebrate because the book is done and I have a week to tend to unpaid bills, unwanted hair, and online shopping and returning. Then, right when I think it’s time to start a fresh novel, Barbara sends me this. A final list of things she caught that I missed–ah-gain! Things that would make me look distracted and spacey and, dare I say, flawed if she hadn’t flagged them for me. Want to peek?

Behold: My final-final edits for Pretenders 2: License To Spill (June 2014)


My responses are in ALL CAPS.

Page 4: Okay there’s no dateline? – YES FINE.

Page 5: Okay there’s no “end scene” at the end of the entry? Most Sheridan entries end with both To Be Continued and End Scene. – GOOD CATCH. PLEASE ADD.

Page 15: Lily uses the phrase “slam-dump” but Duffy also uses that on page 314. Seems more like a Duffy thing? Or was it intentional that they both use it? – GIVE TO DUFFY. DELETE FROM LILY.

Page 36: Sheridan says Duffy’s frown is upside down—but would he be smiling after just being benched? GOOD POINT. – HA! LOSE “HIS SHOULDERS ARE ROUNDED. HIS FROWN IS UPSIDE DOWN.” GO STRAIGHT TO SHERIDAN’S BPMS DOUBLE.

Page 126: This Sheridan entry doesn’t have “To be continued…” at the end. Ok? – PLEASE ADD.

Page 149: They say A Dog’s Year instead of the normal saying which is A Dog’s Age. Ok? YES. THAT’S THE JOKE.

Page 261: Checking the math on Duffy’s debt. $1654.70 on page 161, minus $499.80 for 20 rings at $24.99 each equals $1154.90…but the text says only $533.85 to go. Are we missing something? (if we change here, we need to address it on page 322 also) – LEAVE AS IS. HE IS TAKING HIS SALES FROM THAT NIGHT INTO ACCOUNT AND SUBTRACTING THE TOOLERY RINGS. (MATH SUCKS!)

Page 263 and 310: Okay to reference Christina Aguilera as the pear icon? She was preggers and is now skinny, just want to make sure at the time she really was “owning” her pear shape. – YES. SHERIDAN’S SPEECH AT THE END WAS INSPIRED BY A REAL XTINA SPEECH. I DON’T BELIEVE SHE WAS PREGNANT AT THE TIME. JUST EMBRACING HER INNER PEAR.

Page 295: Should we be dropping “Duffy” from the Lily signature since she is “over” him? – YES!

Page 304: Mentions that AP midterms are on Friday; but on Page 40 we mention mid October midterms and on page 47 we mention midterm report cards. Okay that AP midterms are in middle of November now? Is there a reason its on a different schedule? – OTHER THAN IT WAS CONVENIENT? NO. 🙂 I DECIDED THAT AP CAN GO AT A DIFFERENT TIME. MY BOOK MY RULES? WHADDAYA SAY?

There you have it. The real me. Hideous, isn’t it?



Spray It Forward

We’ve all heard the expression, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” We’ve heard, “Life imitates art.” But yesterday, I birthed its love child. Meet, “You are seriously, never in a billion years, ehv-er, going to believe this.” Born, Wednesday, September 12th at approximately 2:30 PM/PST.
I had twenty pages to go on my Phoenix Five revision. Right on schedule. After I sent draft two to my editor I would post my Blah-g, and then file my quarterly taxes. A to-do-list-lover’s dream day.
Being human, I took a break and bought a salad from a fancy, organic, vegan, healthy-high-horse, we’re-awesome-‘cause-we-eat-kale-instead-of-anything-with-eyes-or-lungs-and-our-yogurt-has-live-active-cultures-in-it kind of place. And a Coke Zero. (Human remember?)
I returned to my desk to eat and finish off my last twenty pages. This being one of them.

Screen Shot of "Too Much Barfing" Note from Erin

Click to enlarge photo.

Can you zoom that blue box on the right? It’s a note from Erin, my editor. She is telling me to stop making so many “barf” references. She thinks there are too many in the book. She suggested I have Duffy feel “dizzy” instead. I agreed and made the change. I typed “dizzy” and (here’s the freaky part) I began to feel dizzy. I typed “sweaty” and began to sweat. I re-read the barfing moment and I swear I began to dry heave.
I started to panic.
Twenty-Five Things You don’t Know About Me.
1 through 25: I HATE PUKING.
I get it, no one likes it. But it is one of my biggest fears EVER! I’d rather be trapped in a crowded elevator and have violent diarrhea than puke in privacy. Also, I have never puked in a toilet. I can’t possibly see how sticking my head in a contaminated bowl is supposed to make me feel better. Plastic bags or trash cans only. So trash can it was.
I was crying, sweating, and dying alone. I wanted to text Kevy my life-crush but I couldn’t move. Eventually I managed.
I typed:
(No response)
I reach out to Siri. Thank gawd someone was there for me.

Ca-lling Ke-vy Harrison.
He answered on the first ring, “Hey, babe!”
I couldn’t help wondering how someone could be that close to his phone and not notice the texts. But I was too weak to fight.
“Puking. Hurry.”
He walked into my office five minutes later, laughed, and said, “Holy sH!# you look bad.”
Again, too weak to fight.
I think we rode home in our golf cart. I don’t remember.
I called the restaurant today to tell them about their evil food. They offered me a free yogurt. I invited them to join me in a crowded elevator.
Off to do my taxes now. Jealous?


P.S. Thank you for the positive feedback on the new site. I know some of you miss the old one so to help you acclimate we are working to bring back the old background, or at least get a familiar color scheme going. Let me know if that helps once it’s installed.