I like editing.  I like rewriting.  I do not like looking over edits.  It’s impossible to hit the “accept all changes” button and call it a day, but it’s a dream I have.

Since that day has yet to arrive, I spent several days going over revisions from one editor.  I’m still waiting on the second.  I finished early yesterday evening and decided it was time to do a read through myself.

I’m a write it and forget it kind of gal.  I write the book and shelve it.  The editors go through it, I read their recommendations by using the Word function of tracking changes and I never actually sit down and re-read my book.

The fact that I’m doing it with Explosive Dreams is surprising.  Of all the books I’ve written, no matter how gruesome and gory I’ve gotten in them, this one disturbed me the most.

However, I did decide to read through it, cover to cover, so to speak.  I felt there was something left unfinished in it and I won’t find it by picking through the editors notes… I’m not even sure it really exists… I need to read it to find out.

So, I’m reading my book and I realize why I’m a write and forget it kind of gal.  In the first seven chapters, I’ve made 122 revisions.  That’s a lot of rewriting and rewording that was not suggested by the editor.  It pretty much makes the work of the editor pointless, because now it will need to be edited yet again.

It’s a vicious cycle.  On the flip side, I’m enjoying the book.  I’m also watching episodes of Too Cute! before bed because it gives me nightmares (this is a psychological thing for me, there’s just something about the bomber that gives me, the creator, the creeps… I keep thinking “holy hell, I thought of that?!”).

While I Was Sleeping

What is that noise?  I can’t move.  What the hell is happening?  How did I get here?  Ok, let’s just take a moment.  What was the last thing I remember doing?

I was sleeping.  The house was deserted.  I had curled up in bed after dinner.  I remember being in bed.  I remember feeling sleepy.  No, wait, I had to get up and use the bathroom.  I used the bathroom and got a drink, then I went back to bed.  It was warm in the house.  My bed was cool as my body climbed back into it.  It felt wonderful.  I feel asleep almost immediately.

Ok, then what?  There was a noise.  Like a door opening, but not really a door, something metallic clanked.  I wanted to go investigate, but my body wouldn’t move.  I don’t know why my body wouldn’t move.  Someone picked me up, I remember that part.  They picked me up and carried me out of the house. 

Then what?   Motion, a car ride, I think.  It made me sleepy again.  There was a light breeze from somewhere.  It moved my hair.  I think I fell back asleep.

Now, I’m here.  But I don’t know where here is.  The room is bright, terribly bright.  My head hurts.  I’m chained up on something, a table I think.  It’s cold, like metal.  The noise gets louder. 

What the hell are you doing to me?  I try to make noise as a man comes into view.  He touches my face.  His hands are warm.  His fingers dig into me.  I’m picked up from the table.  I want to tell him to stop, but I can’t.  No sounds are coming out of my mouth.  My mouth feels weird.  It’s not just his hands, there’s something around my face.

I’m plunged into warm water.  The man begins to scrub me.  It hurts and feels good at the same time.  He lifts me from the water.  Instantly, I begin to shiver.  The air is so cold. 

AHHHH!!!  What is that?  It feels weird.  It doesn’t hurt, but it feels like it should.  What the hell? 

“Just a few more minutes, little guy, and we’ll have you all prettied up and ready for adoption.”  The man’s voice is gentle.  I finally manage to whine at him, I wish it had been a bark.


©Hadena James 2014

This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living or dead or actual situations is completely coincidental.

Explosive Dreams Cover Reveal & Description


Explosive Dreams by Hadena JamesBright midways, rides with loud music and flashing lights, barkers trying to get people to spend   money on rigged games; the normal sounds of county fairs everywhere until an explosion rips through the tinny music of the carnival rides.  Now the screams are not squeals of delight but the terrified shrieks of the dying.


The danger is no longer imaginary, something to shrug off when the ride is over.  A killer is studying each fair, looking for that special ride that will rain down the most horror.  The bombs he sets brings complete destruction.  They leave a dirty field covered in broken bodies and crumpled machinery.


The Serial Crimes Tracking Unit has their hands full searching for his next target and sifting through bodies.  Aislinn Cain is having trouble getting into the mindset of the bomber.  Her failure to relate makes the body count climb.  Then the unimaginable, a member of the SCTU gets cut down.  How far will Aislinn go to get justice for her fallen friend and catch the killer?


Kudos to Angela with Covered Creatively for her hard work to get this cover done in a very limited deadline.  I think she nailed it!

Hadena James v. Brenna Strachan

So, I’m asked, often, how much of me is in Brenna Strachan (and Aislinn Cain, but that’s for later).  While trying to decide whether to do an author interview or a character interview about books, I decided to interview myself and Brenna.

There’s a catch though… I need questions.  I have five in mind.  Post questions in the comments section and I’ll compile and answer them as Hadena and as Brenna.  Deal?


1.  Favorite donut?  (it’s Brenna, it has to be asked)

2.  Favorite Book?

3.  Favorite color?

4.  Favorite Super Hero?

5.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Now yours…


There’s a cover in the works for Explosive Dreams.  I’m not sure the cover artist understood what she was getting into when she agreed to give it a go.  However, I don’t think I drove her too crazy.

On a personal note, I feel like I have sleeping sickness.  I yawn constantly and I’m ready for a nap about ten minutes after I wake up.

Despite that, I have been working.  My next book is under way.  I need to write a guest blog post for a Dark Cotillion book tour that’s about to start.  I’m working on scheduling a tour for the entire Dreams & Reality series.

The editors have Explosive Dreams and it feels weird, because my content editor was unavailable to go through it first.  She moved and the move is taking up all her time.

So, that’s my update.  Hope to do the cover reveal very soon.  Hope to have flash fiction going up this weekend.  :-D

Sometimes I Order Jimmy John’s By Default

Mondays are special for me.  They are writing nights.  My SO plays darts without me in Jefferson City, Missouri with a fantabulous group of guys, but as a player, I hate going and watching week after week after week.

We agreed some time ago that it would be a writer’s night.  He leaves at 6 and doesn’t come home until 10 or so, that’s four extra hours of writing time for me.  However, I hate fixing dinner just for me on those nights and it’s the only day I can order a sub sandwich and not have to worry about what he’s going to eat.  He doesn’t really like subs and I really do.

I have a case of the crud.  It started Saturday, got worse yesterday and today I sound like a teenaged boy who has been smoking five packs a day since birth.  Surprisingly, I have cash in my wallet.  I almost never carry cash, it’s a rare thing indeed.  I thought I’d order a sub for my dinner.  I’m too tired and lazy to really fix anything.  And heating up left over pizza thrills me about as much as eating dirt… possibly less.

I checked Sub Shop first, but their website is down.  If I had the energy to drive somewhere, I’d just cook me something.  That leaves Jimmy John’s.  I like Jimmy John’s.  However, I feel as though it is often my default ordering place, not really my first choice.  Maybe I should order something hot and spicy like Thai food to burn this crap out of me.

Commercials Gone Awry

I have noticed a disturbing new trend in commercials.  It would seem like everyone in charge of quality control has the IQ of a shoe.

Commercial 1:

Some mobile company has a guy knocking around a green ball and the slogan is Period Power.  As a woman, every time I hear the slogan, I wonder if I need to go buy tampons.  And for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the mobile company offering the rates.  Also, they play it a lot.  I know because I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I see it often.  I chalked this commercial up as a complete failure.  I don’t know what men think of it, but as a woman, it doesn’t entice me to switch my mobile service.

Commercial 2:

Esurance and their 7 1/2 minute quote.  Insurance for your house, auto, apartment, etc are all really important decisions.  They are touting the speed of their service to save you time.  I tested it.  It took me longer than 7 1/2 minutes and my quote was ridiculous.  As it is, when I did buy my insurance a few years ago, I spent a whole hell of a lot more time than even 15 minutes.  Eventually, I got a quote that wasn’t robbing me blind and had good coverage.  Stop trying to save me time and start offering quality over quantity.  If I spent more than 7 1/2 minutes, I probably would have gotten better offers… but since I was testing for quantity not quality…

Commercial 3:

One cup coffee commercial, I missed the brand, it’s unimportant.  I have nothing against one cup coffee makers.  My mother is the only coffee drinker in my house, so I get it.  And they offer a huge variety.  However, tonight I saw one with this comparison:  place or scoop: placing takes less effort.  They actually said that!  Now, I get that Americans are considered terribly lazy and that we try to expend as little energy as possible, but marketing to that specific fault seems like a bad idea.


Enter Panic Mode

The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!  Well, perhaps not the sky, more like my emotions are running hither and tither.  I’m just 34 days from publishing Explosive Dreams.  Not the best book in the Dreams series, but not the worst either (for the record, Tortured is my least favorite, Elysium is my most favorite… for now).

However, there’s cover art to be made and previewed.  I’m having a little difficulty getting ahold of Kelly Nichols, my cover artist for the previous three books.  I know what I want and I want Kelly to do the work (she just gets what I want, sometimes without me realizing that I want it).  But the cover for Mercurial took two weeks to do because of multiple revisions (have I mentioned that I love her as a cover artist?  She is freakin’ phenomenal).

I ran spell check on it tonight (for the first time).  I can’t spell permanent, assault, or brilliant correctly… ever.  It needs to go to the content editor.  It then needs to go to the copy editor.  Then it needs to go to the beta readers.  I’m running a little behind schedule there.  The content editor will take a week.  The copy editor about the same…

There’s at least two loose ends to tie up.  Not sure how I missed them in the original.  I need to fix those, like tomorrow, so that the content editing can begin.

Time just slipped away from me.  I began working on the first book of my next set of books, a fantasy trilogy.  I’m three chapters in to it and somehow all the other shit just slipped my mind… Now I have 34 days to get it all done in.  I will be working every waking moment…

The Babe

She stood outside the main entrance to the mall.  Her fingers were furiously moving over the keys as she typed out a message.

Excuse me, miss.  A man’s voice, she looked up.  Hold him, I’ll just be a minute.

Then he was gone.  In the blink of an eye, she found herself holding a child.  A very small child with wide blue eyes and a yellow pacifier stuck between its lips.  She cooed at the infant.  Had the man called it a him?  She wasn’t sure, it had happened so fast.

She sat down at one of the tables.  Her eyes constantly scanned the crowd for the overly trusting stranger.  She had every intention of giving him a piece of her mind when he returned.  You didn’t just hand a person a baby and then nothing bad to happen.  Luckily, she wasn’t that kind of person, she was trustworthy, but it was sure inconvenient.  She was already running late getting back to work.

The minutes ticked by.  The baby slept.  The digital glow on her phone almost permanently stayed on as she checked the time more and more frequently.

She stood up and went to the security office in the mall.

Hi, this guy just handed me this baby, like an hour ago and he never came back.  She told the uniformed security guard.

He just handed you a baby?  Don’t you think that’s a little weird?  The security guard countered, eyes narrowed.  She suddenly felt a little panicked.

Yes, I did think it was weird, but before I could tell him that he was gone.  She informed him, her hackles raised by fear and indignation.

John, can you come out here?  The security guard called to the back of the room.  A second guard came out.  He was much larger and more intimidating than the first.  Now, tell us again, but make sure to include a description of the man.

I was standing in front of the main entrance, texting my boss, to let her know I was going to be late getting back and this guy walked up and handed me the baby.  He said he’d only be a minute.  I went to protest, but he was already gone.  He was wearing jeans and a hat.

What did he look like?  John asked.

I don’t know, a guy.  About my age, not as tall as you, white, skinny-ish.

That’s pretty vague.  The first security guard said.

Yeah, I did’t get a good look, it happened too fast.

Are you sure you didn’t mistakenly pick up the child yourself?  John asked.

Why would I mistakenly pick up a baby?  I asked.

Sounds just as plausible as what you just told us.  The first guard said.

Panic made her feel sick.  They didn’t believe her, but what did they think she was trying to do, drop off an unwanted kid at the mall security office?  Get real.

Several police officers entered the room.  A woman was with them.  Tears ran down her face, staining her shirt with black and sparkly colors from her make-up.

That’s her!  The woman said.  That’s the woman I saw pick up Timothy from the stroller!

Whoa!  She took a step back from the obviously hysterical woman.  Some guy handed him to me at the mall entrance. 

My husband saw you!  The woman lunged at me.  Only John, the security guard, kept her from getting to me.  I was handcuffed and walked out of the mall.  As we left, I saw the woman hand the child to her husband.  It was the same jack-ass that had handed me the baby over an hour ago.  I shouted and screamed.  I was tasered.


©Hadena James 2014

This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living or dead or actual situations is completely coincidental.

The Art of the Fall

He’d learned long ago that it wasn’t always the fall that mattered.  Sometimes, it was the art of the fall.  It had happened before.  The scene had been awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time.  However, like a phoenix rising from the ash, chaos had given way to life.  There had been rebirth from the destruction.

Now, he stood upon the edge.  If he did this, death would be the least of his worries.  It wasn’t just rebellion, it was treason.  Treason was always harshly punished.

His hands shook as he stared at the horn in his hands.  One note; that was all it would take.  One note would bring about destruction and rebirth.  One terrifying note that would mean more than any other sound had ever meant.  It would make the world tremble.  It would make people cower and hold their loved ones.  It had been a long time since they had done that.  Life, such a precious thing, meant nothing until it was gone.  He knew.  The wounds of loss still tore at him, gutted him, and caused him immeasurable pain that created a void.

It wasn’t time.  He knew that.  He knew that better than anyone.  His instructions were clear and they dictated that it wasn’t time.

However, he could no longer stand by and feel the pain while he watched the others take their happiness for granted.  Rage filled the void.

Gabriel put the horn to his lips and blew.  The note made the air feel intolerable.  It shook the ground beneath his feet.  The rage stilled.

The sound shattered the first seal.  A beast leapt from the broken seal and said “Come and See.”

Gabriel prepared to face the wrath of the Creator and blew the horn again.


©Hadena James 2014

This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living or dead or actual situations is completely coincidental.

Susan Finlay Writes

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