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  • Writer's pictureS. Jennifer Paulson

$#%&! My parents can't read this book!

As I'm closing in on getting Boomerang set to share with the world, I'm starting to get a little nervous.

Writing experts always seem to say the same dang thing Write for yourself. Don't think about anyone else reading your words. Pretend all your relatives are dead!? 😧 Just write. And worry about the content once it's published.

It's now officially worrywart time. As in,"$#%&! My parents can't read this book! My aunts and uncles? And gasp maybe even my kids?"

woman reading book, Wix art
This isn't my mom. But I hope her face is like this when she finishes reading "Boomerang."

I read plenty of books, especially domestic thrillers. And the ones I love are written with the raw realities of life. Sometimes, those scenes are tough to take in (take Tarryn Fisher's Mud Vein. I devoured the book. But it's got some disturbing scenes in there. As does Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, one of my faves. (The precursor to Silence of the Lambs, another hell of a book and movie.) But these troubling, horrifying scenes are there for a reason.

Just like my book.

They're not there for shock value. They're there for a purpose — to propel the story and provide a bigger picture and understanding of the characters in it. And how the things in their lives have gotten them to this point.

And, as we know, life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Stuff happens. And it's not always good. Sometimes, those things completely change the course of our lives.

There are some scenes in my novel that are troubling. And I wrote them with as much respect and realism as I could. So when my content editor told me that a sex scene I had alluded to (and then ended the chapter with) really needed to be fleshed out (bad pun intended), my heart raced. So, I took a deep breath and went for it. And then had a mini-stroke after I reread it.

But, I have to be true to this craft. So, in it stays, after a few little tweaks. And this sucker is almost ready to be uploaded to Amazon and more for preorders.

I'm excited. To finally see this passion project of mine come to fruition after running my yap about it for years to whomever would listen that my biggest bucket list item was to write and publish a book. And now, it's about here.

I'm excited for you all to read it. Even my family .... though I'm a little scared.

I voiced my concerns recently during a visit with my mom and dad.

"It's effed up," I basically told my mom, explaining it's like nothing I've ever written before. (Outside of Mr. Rabbit, of course.)

Mom assured me it's OK. I told her I was a little worried about Dad reading it. He'll be fine, she told me. "It's a book," Dad said.

However, I'm starting to feel this parenting cycle of life come full circle. As in, I feel the need to give them a redacted copy.

Kinda like my mom used to do for me with movies I wanted to watch.

Back when I was a kid, I was a voracious reader and movie watcher. And until I was in high school, there were limits on the kind of things I could watch. (Basically, nothing with nudity or sex. Oh, the irony...) Yet my genre of films? Comedy, dance and...horror? Many, I had to wait to watch on regular TV, so Mom need not pull out her editing software.

But "Flashdance"was special. I was nine when the movie took the country by storm, and Irene Cara's "What a Feeling" was my favorite song at the moment. I really wanted to watch the movie, since I was into movies with choreography back then. (🐿️! I would also like to point out today marks FORTY YEARS since "Footloose" came out. Here's the final scene. You're welcome.)

My mom saw Flashdance at the theater and said NO. But I begged and begged and begged, and once it was on cable, she agreed to record it and edit it for my viewing purposes.

VHS, woman, 1980s, Canva photo
Maybe this woman was also editing a copy of "Flashdance" for her daughter, too?

How awesome is that? I got to watch the movie, finally (which, by the way, inspired me to re-enact the final dance scene in our family room, where I proceeded to crack my ankle against our coffee table and fracture it, landing me in a walk-in clinic).

But there were complications with the edits. I guess that's the risk with a clunky VHS recorder and live TV. One minute, Jennifer Beals/Alex Owens was on the phone. The next, I had a full view of a woman's bare ass as she slinked down a strip club stage in heels -- which abruptly ended with a scene back at Alex's warehouse apartment. (Mom, you get points for trying. That was really sweet of you. And I, by some miracle, survived a few seconds of seeing a woman's butt.)

I'm thinking I need to do the same with Boomerang. Just a few pages blacked out or removed.

Scratch that. As my aunt pointed out, and others have, we all know how we ended up on this Earth. And storks weren't involved.

Yet, we can all learn from the never-ending wisdom of "Flashdance." Alex was pissed at her boss and boyfriend, Nick, for calling in a favor to get her an audition at a prestigious dance company she dreamed of joining. She wanted in on her own. Not because of a connection.

But here's the thing. If you're really driven to a certain calling, you take the chances offered to you. You don't rebuff them. You embrace the opportunity to show what you've got. You show them that you're worth it.

As Nick said (I have seen the movie about 8 million times), "When you give up your dream, you die."

I can't. Not for this dream.

So, get those eyes ready, family. I'm not giving up on at least one of my goals.

Flashdance costume, alex owens costume, jennifer beals costume
S. Jennifer's dance career went nowhere, but she still likes to honor one of her favorite movies around Halloween.


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Hi, readers! I’m S. Jennifer Paulson, a former journalist who has been pecking away at my debut novel for years. You know, in between work, helping my husband with his business, grad school and being a wife and mom. So, I’ll be sharing about the writing journey, as well as musings on everyday life — and the things going on around us — from the world of books to beyond. So grab a cup of coffee and join me on my journey to publishing my first book. It’s gonna be an interesting ride.

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