"A first draft is only for the author," they told me as I typed away and shared little snippets. We authors love every word we put on the page, but some as my precious editor tells me are superfluous and should be deleted before publishing.
So how do we decide what to include? Our editors are tough with us, noting anything they feel would hurt the telling of the story. Ultimately it is our decision, but a good editor would never steer us wrong.
So this blog post is dedicated to my wonderful editor, Jeni Burns, who worked just as hard as I did to bring the beginning of Beth's story to you.
Here is an exert that was not included in the final copy:
Did you ever regret something the moment you said it? I do, every day.
Telluride, Colorado, June 19, 2009
“Today is perfect.” The sun warmed my face as I watched the mountain sage release seeds into the soft breeze along the path to the lake. “Breakfast on the deck was a great idea.” The clank of dishes distracted me from the lake in the distance. “Here, let me take some of those.” The dishes needed to be done before Brad and Martin returned from their swim, but Sophie shouldn’t do all of them. After all, she was our guest.
“Thanks, I can get them.”
She smiled at me as she stepped through the doorway into the house, leaving the French doors open. “You need to relax, Beth. You haven’t had a holiday in forever.”
“You are on holiday, too. Let’s do them together.”
“Any day the boys are with their grandparents is a holiday. Thank you for the invitation this weekend.”
I snatched the glasses from the table and stacked them to carry all at once to the kitchen counter. “You are always welcome here, you know that.”
She nodded and turned on the water.
“We should go on a hike later. I’m sure the guys have made plans for the whole afternoon.”
“Sounds good. I need some exercise,” she patted her flat stomach. “I will not fit in a thing if you keep making this delicious food.”
“Please, I don’t know where you put it in your size zeros. I haven’t been in anything smaller than a 10 since I met Brad.”
She laughed. “You are so fit, though. You’re happy, he’s happy. That is what counts, non? A hike will do us both good.”
The hot water steamed above the sink as it hit the cool mountain air. Sophie washed each of the dishes while I dried and placed them in the cabinets. It didn’t take us long. My cell rang, and I ignored it. I couldn’t think of a reason not to let it go to voicemail. After we finished up, I poured another cup of coffee for each of us and we walked back out to the deck. My cell rang again.
A helicopter hovered low over the cabin. The pine trees shed their needles sending them dancing across the wood of the deck. My hair stood straight up as the blades caught the wind and dust of the dry Colorado summer. I shut my eyes tight to keep anything from getting into them. Why are they so low? Don’t they know that’s dangerous?
“Crazy pilot. What is he thinking? Idiot!” Sophie smoothed out her hair with one hand while covering her mug on the railing with the other.
My cell rang again, and I snatched it up, tired of the interruptions. I glanced at the screen and my blood turned to ice. I felt it run through me as the cold filled my veins. The name on the screen made my skin clammy. I pushed the green button and listened to the madman at the other end of the line. He was lying. He was absolutely absurd. “What? I can’t understand you.” I handed the phone to Sophie. “Talk to your husband.” My brain tried to comprehend what Martin had said in his mix of French and English. I caught “Brad missing, gone under, search and rescue.” What did it mean? Sophie grabbed my hand, shattering her mug on the ground below us. My brain shut down. I couldn’t think. This can’t be happening. Not on our perfect day.
This week is my book tour for Drenched Sunflowers. When I was looking for options for book tours, I struggled with finding the time to visit with my readers in my work week. HR is my primary job and takes up the majority of my week. On my days off, I write. It doesn't leave much time for fun things like book tours. And traveling to all the locations for signings seemed impossible.
Talking with my readers and answering questions about the Water Street Chronicles are inspirational to me. It gets the creative juices going and lets the words flow into my document. But its a new age. Social media makes our lives easier as writers and it creates lots of distractions. Information and research are at our fingertips. The experts that we need to make the story ring true are accessible through messaging apps. Then there are the distractions that pull us in and keep us away from what we set out to do.
Book tours online have morphed into social media conversation starters, which as an introvert I appreciate. Thank you to Loving the Book for organizing the event. So this week, ask me anything you would like. I will be checking the book tour page on my breaks at work and after. I have been working on answers on questions that I might get. We might even share some secrets.
Talk to you soon.
A lot of people have asked, "how do I get a signed copy of your book?"
Here is your chance to get a signed copy and visit with me. I will be available to answer questions and visit. The museum will be open for tours. It is where it all began for Drenched Sunflowers.
Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum
All photos on the website are taken by Tammera Cooper and remain her property.