I’m insanely deadline oriented. Honestly, I have no idea why I even bother working the other weeks out of the month. I should just stock up on Redbull’s and write for a week straight.

This month, the deadline was to get the first book of my new Middle Grade series off to one of my editors, Joshua Essoe.

I think I cried more than I wrote. And it wasn’t good tears of emotional turmoil alongside my character (though that did tear me up a time or two). These were honest to goodness tears of frustration and agony as I plowed through the manuscript one more time looking for any bit of it that could be salvaged among the poo of words. I hear all writers go through that at some point in their book, and for me, it’s certainly par for the course at this stage, and while I’d like to take heart that I’m on track, it’s just plain agonizing when I’m in the middle of it.

I lost track of how many times I almost emailed Joshua to tell him to give my slot away, but then my rational mind would take over and I’d remember how much of a part he is to the process of putting out a polished, finished product. I’ve used Joshua for both current books in the Alterations series, and I’m not sure I can write a fantasy book without him, he’s just too keen on spotting places where I can beef up the middle, or rearrange events for maximum impact, or go deeper with descriptions, or beat my characters up more.

****** SIDE NOTE: For all of you seething about that double-twist in Shadow Boxer, that was totally his idea. (But I luuuuuuuuuurved it! MUAHAHAHHA!)

When we worked on book 1, Lightning Ridertogether, he stopped halfway through and gave it back to me with suggestions about how to change the entire book. That was going to mean a serious rewrite and I wasn’t sure I was up to the task. I honestly thought about tossing it all overboard and going back to writing romances. But I ruminated on what he’d presented as a solution, and I knew the book–and the main character, Evy–would be better for it, so I saddled up and made the changes. It wasn’t just a better book after his suggestions, but a 5-star worthy book! The reviews I get for Lightning Rider are due so much in part to Joshua’s careful examination of each page, every sentence, every detail. The relationship with a great editor is very much a team effort on how to create the best possible product for readers.

That’s one of the things I like most about having an editor — the collaboration. Joshua is an entirely new set of eyes on the book and he’s able to see things from the unique perspective of a reader. He can’t tell what’s in my mind — even though he can always figure it out — but he can tell what I’m trying to say and points out where I need to be crystal clear for the reader. I’ve come to depend on that from him, and with this new book, I know he’ll be able to take this giant pile of poo that I’ve given him, bloody it all up with his red pen, and send me back the remnants of the story’s essence.

He has a gift for that, for finding the core of the story–sometimes under a thick, thick layer of drivel–but he finds it, and says, “Yes! This, here! More of this!” (even though he says it in his very professional voice, but you get my drift :)

So, I met my deadline, exhausted and feeling depleted and worthless, but I’ve sent it off, and now I’m on to writing the next one. (Or at least pretending to until I get closer to my deadline!)

What are you working on?



BTW, If you’re interested in hiring Joshua, you can contact him on his website: