You won’t often see me talk about my personal issues on social media. They’re my business and no one else’s. I may mourn a death publicly, but that’s how I help heal, but outside of that, you won’t see me bitch about stuff in my personal life. There’s no need to. And I’m not about to start. I am writing this to share my experience with other new authors. It’s my hope when they encounter similar adversity, they can look back at my example for some guidance.
Today I had one of the worst days I’ve had during the pandemic. It mostly started over this past weekend, and has snowballed. Of all the shit that has been turded upon me in 2020, today took the cake. But I made the best of it. And I didn’t lose my temper. Not once. I have a short fuse, it’s almost non existent, to be precise. This is remarkable.
A couple weeks ago I inquired with FiOS about a speed upgrade. It’s been a nightmare experience. Sitting on hold with customer service for 6 hours over 3 days is the least of the shit that has really gotten my blood boiling.
The other night brought it to a head. I was surfing through Facebook and came upon a new friend’s post. You know how Facebook thinks you need to see everything a new person on your friends list posts… well this one guy posts a negative rant about the HWA… and I comment on it, politely, to the contrary. And I find, hidden in the comments, the demon of Christmas past… Andrea Dawn.
She’s using a new nom de plume, but her narcissism won’t allow her to change her first name. So whether her surname is Dawn, or Thomas, or Ohmsted, doesn’t matter. What matters is she is a racist stain on the horror community. I made a post regarding it and spread the word, letting others know… SHE’S BACK!
I was her friend once. I trusted her. And I confided in her, quite often. She shared things with me, that at first seemed preposterous to me, but her arguments in defense of her statements always made sense. Until one day, when I caught her in a lie regarding a mutual friend and peer. It made me reevaluate our relationship. Then, when Covid hit, she went batshit crazy and her true nature was revealed. I blocked her and thought I was done with her.
Nope. She’s a fucking ass boil that returns every couple months to annoy you. Her work quality is about as stable as her personality. She can be a brilliant editor in once instance, and utter shite the next. Why am I saying this? Why am I bringing her name back up? Why am I mentioning her editing skills, or lack thereof?
Last month, I accidentally released my book THE DEATH LIST. I released it with the edits I paid Andrea to do. As a result of our fallout, I bequeathed her the name Alan Smithee in my credits. I sent the book off to a couple reviewers… and one filled me in on the work Andrea did for me. Work I paid Andrea to do.
SHE SHIT THE BED, PEOPLE.
It’s my own fault for NOT HAVING SOMEONE REVIEW HER EDITS BEFORE SUBMITTING/PUBLISHING. I want new writers to learn from my mistake. I’m not the first to get bitten by a bad editor or bad people. This is what you can do to safeguard yourself from toxic elements in the writing community like Andrea:
Vett anybody who says they are an editor. Get references. If you think the deal an editor is giving you is too good to be true, like $100 to edit your 80K word novel – then yeah. It’s too good to be true. I’m going to tell you – I’ve used three editors outside of those at my publisher. Two were worth a shit and one was Andrea. Nothing Andrea edited has been accepted by any publishers. Erin Al-Mehairi and Garrett Cook’s work? They respectively touched my first two books from SSP, Good Boy and Bella’s Boys, in all the yes-yes-please-more places. Yeah. Need I say more?
If people warn you that a person is toxic, you often will not see it because you are too close to that person. LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE WARNING YOU! This has happened to me TWICE now. Let’s take Andrea for example. MANY PEOPLE TOLD ME TO GET AWAY FROM HER. I ignored them for two years. I believed she did a good job editing.
Then I worked with Donelle and Lisa at SSP… and my eyes were opened to the SHIT WORK ANDREA DID!
Then Patrick Freivald advised me to cut ties with this woman. All the way to Necon from NY. Still I defended Andrea. You know what I learned from this? IF PATRICK FREIVALD TELLS YOU SOMETHING – YOU FUCKING LISTEN TO HIM. He’s the HWA’s Facebook admin and one of the wisest people in the industry. He’s not alone. I’ve already mentioned my Stitched Smile family is outstanding. There are others, too, like Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia, Jarod Barbee, Kelli Owen … All wise people and you should listen to them if they give you advice.
Don’t be me. Don’t be stubborn. If you are warned by multiple people of a bad element, heed the warning. Don’t open yourself up to toxic bullshit. Remember, we invite the vampire into our house, not the other way around.
Now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. My day has gotten better. I’ve overcome the issues brought on by Andrea’s lingering presence in the outhouse. Even Verizon and me were able to fix things. I think tomorrow’s going to be a lot better, don’t you?