Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Dreams Do Come True

I am one step closer to being a published author.

I have been riding an adrenaline wave since Monday night. When I learned an acquisitions editor was interested in looking at my horror manuscript, Guardian Angel, I immediately called my mom a little after 11 p.m. to share the good news with her. I next shared the love with my social media network. Out of respect for my sleeping neighbors, I limited myself to one shouted “Yes” when I got the news.

I don’t think I slept that night.

This is my dream. I have dreamt about this moment since I was five years old and writing my first short stories. I dreamt about this moment when I was writing my first “novel”, which was modeled after The Exorcist. I dreamt about this moment when I was submitting short stories to Twilight Zone magazine and receiving form rejection letters. It has only taken 50 years to finally stand on the precipice of realizing that dream.

I literally learned the meaning of the term, gob struck, that night. I was stunned, shocked, amazed. I still am.

Thanks Erin Lale, without whom this realization of a dream would not be possible. She is the acquisitions editor for Damnation Books (, a small press out of Santa Rosa, California that publishes dark fiction.

She started a discussion on LinkedIn, How to Annoy the Acquisitions Editor, part 73, which has been widely commented on. The far-ranging discussion has been both informative and amusing.

The following is an edited exchange between her and I that took place Monday night:

Roberta Codemo

I now have the impetus to finish my horror novel, which is based on a real life event that happened to me when I was a child. The manifestation in my book paid me a return visit about 20 years ago and I had to have the apartment I was living in at the time cleansed. Writing the book has been very cathartic; however, there are moments where I have to sleep with the lights on.

Erin Lale

Ooh, a scary book about a scary book. That sounds intriguing.

Roberta Codemo

Would you like to see it when it’s done? It’s titled Guardian Angel. What if Evil was your guardian angel and your guardian angel wanted you dead.

Erin Lale

Sure, that’s different, I’ll give that a read.

Who would have thought it could be that simple?

The adrenaline rush has now been tempered somewhat by the hard work I have ahead of me. I have set a goal of 2,000 to 2,500 words a day, every day, and plan to have the book completed within the next two months.

Dreams do come true after all.


Kissed by your Dream

I’m staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.

You know that hoary chestnut: Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Well, I’m living proof of that. Only I didn’t wish for this. I should have listened to my father.

Once I thought it was the sweetest thing in the world to be kissed by your dream. I stumbled on it accidentally, my dream that is. I was 13 and perusing the stacks of my public library when I found it: Guardian Angel by Robert Colombo.

The world fell away when I pulled that book down off the shelf and saw my father’s picture on the back cover. My father – a writer? I turned that book over and over in my hands marveling that my father had written a horror novel. The only thing I’d ever seen him read was the sports section of our local paper.

I knew right then I wanted to be a writer, just like him. I slipped that book inside my jacket and stole it out of the library. Okay. It was in the adult section and I would have needed his permission to check it out. Somehow I didn’t want him to know I knew his secret.

That book was my ticket out of reality. I read it over and over again trying to absorb some of my father’s magic and writing bits and pieces of flotsam.

I never told him.

But, one day, that book was gone along with all my notebooks. In their place was a one word note: “Stop.” We never spoke of it. That was how it was in my family.

I put my dream away and got a sensible job. I became an accountant and I was good at it until the firm laid me off…well…okay…I was fired. I never was suited for life in a cubicle world.

I found the book in a box in the attic when I was cleaning out my parent’s house after they died. Somehow my dream was always waiting for me to find my way back to it.

The book stands on a corner of my desk. The desk where I’ve written 10 books, five of which made the New York Times Best Seller list. I can’t complain. It’s been a hell of a ride. Except…

Where was I? Right. I’m staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. He’s standing here with a gun pointing at my head. Why? Ask him. He…sorry, I know you want to remain anonymous.

H…okay…it. Hey, if I can’t use h or h, it will have to do. It breaks into my house and points a loaded gun at my head.

What? Sorry, I was talking to it. It wants notoriety, it said. It wants me to tell its story.

Me? Right. I’ve got nothing. Zero. Zip. Nil. Listen, I know I’m a writer but you expect me to perform well under pressure with a gun pointing at my head. Hell, if I could do that, I’d still be in cubicle world. Okay?

I should have listened to my father. I should have stopped. But it’s too late now. I’m sitting here with a loaded gun pointing….yes, yes, I know I’ve said that already but it’s kind of hard not to notice the gun pointing at my head. If I could turn back the clock and forget I ever saw that book sitting on that library shelf, I would. But I can’t give it back.

Oh, shut up, you’re not the one staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.