Archive for the ‘Manuscripts’ Category

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.


Treasure Trove

Over the weekend, I moved some of my belongings out of storage and into my now not quite so new apartment. One of the items was a two-drawer wood filing cabinet that my dad bought me one year for Christmas. As I was going through the drawers, I found a treasure trove of folders full of abandoned manuscripts, some dating back to when I was in my early 20s.

I spent the afternoon reading tales of alien owned bookstores, dragons, magical mirrors, deceased mothers and prodigal daughters returning home. One manuscript was eerily similar to the horror manuscript I’m working on now. I found notebooks crammed full of story ideas, sketched out plots and character descriptions. I even found instructional materials from a Writer’s Digest Writing to Sell Fiction correspondence course I completed.

I opened one folder to find a surprise: a note dated April 26, 1987 scrawled on the inside front cover from a former newspaper editor I worked with. He wrote:

I found the story entertaining and very well written. The question mark changes I made are backed by the Associated Press book on my desk (the blue one under the dictionary). Otherwise, good folksy grammar and dialect. I think this will sell somewhere. You’ve got my vote.

 Those were the halcyon days of my youth when I was writing and submitting my work to magazines and accumulating a wealth of rejection slips in the process. And learning, most importantly. I was working at and learning my craft.

I’m older now. I’ve gotten sidetracked but am finding my way back to the path I trod so eagerly twenty-odd years ago. Looking at these old manuscripts, I remember when writing was my passion and the simple act of putting words on paper infused me with joyous abandon.

Life’s funny that way. Detours, Road blocks, Switchbacks. All are necessary in the growth of a writer. While I’ve been running from writing, it’s always been there, waiting for me to come back to it. I’ve got to go. My muse is calling.