It was bound to happen.

You know that moment when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing, and you get caught?

That happened to me.

You see, this whole writing thing that I do has been a huge secret from most of my real life people for a long time, especially my family until last week.

I was sitting at my computer “working” at my new job when I got a text message from my dad.


Ignore my typos (fat thumbs)

Yeah, my dad found my book. My dad, the preacher, found my book that says the F word a lot, the book where the main character indulges in all things bad: sex, drugs, sex, alcohol, sex, swearing, sex, and being a terrible person in general. Did I mention there’s a lot of sex in my book?

I may have had a mini heart attack upon reading that text.

Or thirteen.

I stared at my phone for five or fifty-five minutes unable to make words. Then I bravely dialed “Dad” and waited for his response.

“Well hello,” he said.

“Hi,” I may have whispered.

“So what’s new?”

“Um. Yeah. You have my book?” Heart palpitations, shortness of breath.

“I do,” I think he enjoyed my discomfort with the conversation.

“Okay, great. Well, don’t read it.”

“Oh, I’m reading it,” he confirmed, rather boldly actually.

He proceeded to tell me that he had plans to do nothing until he finished it, that he wanted to start it that night. I explained to him that there were terrible no good things (like a very detailed chapter about a one night stand with multiple orga um things, and another where she performs something for her boyfriend on her knees, all of which is written beautifully in HD detail) that someone of his religious affiliation and faith in the almighty God should never ever read, particularly when the fingers that typed those words belong to one’s daughter who one sees as a precious little gem who never ever would think much less create such smut…or something like that.

He stopped me mid self-lashing verbal diarrhea to say, “You know you could never do anything that wouldn’t make me proud, right?”

I swallowed the giant lump in my throat and managed a meek, “Yeah, well er … you haven’t read it.”

He then told me that he had read all of the reviews (51 five star reviews and counting) and all of my blog posts (double gulp) and that he knew what he was getting himself into. He also reminded me that he was in the Navy and that he spent forty years in construction and therefore would be surprised if there was anything he hasn’t heard. I didn’t bother to tell him I’m sure there was, as I mentally went through the glossary of words I made up like c*nt punch and slutoweem, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I ended the call and then threw up in my mouth.

And then I dry heaved in the toilet for the rest of the day.

I wonder if this is what coming out feels like (on an obviously very much smaller scale).

The point of this ridiculously wordy account is that I have been hiding something for which I’m really proud, and now that it’s out there, I realize how foolish that was.

Having it out in the open, being able to put my book out on my bookshelf in my home, having the freedom to talk about this book that came out of my brain is freeing.

It’s liberating. 

I think I should probably thank my dad for opening this door.

I hope that if any of you are living under this cloak of fear where I spent more than four years, you’ll do yourself a favor and boldly throw it off. Stand tall, and be you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Trust me. I only wish I had been honest from the start.

So now that we have that out of the way, tell me, what secrets are you keeping? It’s no big deal. This is only the internet. It’s not like your dad is going to read it. Oh wait.

But seriously … spill.



57 thoughts on “Busted

  1. This is awesome. I kind of got busted when my new boss told me he has been reading my blog. I mean, it wasn’t on the same scale…but I was very distressed by it. I mean…now my boss knows I’m batshit crazy. Awesome. On the other hand, I really don’t have anymore secrets. And that is cool.

    Hi Mandi’s dad! In case you read this! You have an amazing daughter and I am proud to know her. Well..electronically. Not in weird electronic way. I’ll stop now.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh, getting busted by the boss is probably equally as horrifying. I remember reading a post about this, but your writing is so good and so funny, I’m sure you just gained a new fan.

      You’re so sweet, Michelle, and not even close to a weird electronic way, although, we could talk about that. Seriously, don’t stop. 🙂


  2. I always wondered how you were able to keep your lives separated and assumed that the why could only be because your family is awful people, but that’s clearly not the case. You’re just a neurotic goofball. Lol. I do hope this coming out liberates you and I’m SURE dad won’t think Paige and Mandi are basically the same person just like I don’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No, my family is not awful people. They’re fabulous, but they’re very conservative, and as you are well aware, Dear Stephanie is not even a little bit conservative, so that’s where the fear came. Paige and Mandi are not even close to the same person. The only thing we have in common is that we both have blonde hair and a best friend with red hair. Okay, and sometimes we have the same sense of humor.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This must have been so hard!
    (She said hard)
    Oh, oops! Does your dad read the comments on your blog, too?
    Sorry about the first comment. My phone is a dick.
    WOW I hope your dad isn’t reading these.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You know what though? It all happened exactly the way it was supposed to. I don’t regret hiding from my family at first, because it freed me to write without shackles. I know you would never have written the story of Paige had you known your father would read it. You wrote your soul because you felt free to….and now your family is proud because what came out of your mind is raw beauty.

    The question becomes (for both of us) can we write free again, knowing now that our families will read every word? I have to MAKE myself believe no one will ever read what I write in order to set it free without censoring (I realize what I wrote is not as edgy as what you wrote!), so I hope I can keep up the ruse and write free again.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That is probably the truest thing I’ve ever read, and I agree. I will continue to write as if nobody will read it and hope that there is magic that happens in those words that I create.

      I will write free (she says over and over again in her head).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, total inspiration. When I told my husband that the woman’s husband (in my *book*, she adds, whispering) dies in the first chapter, he took it sort of personally.
    But if you can be out about dirty joyousness to your preacher dad, then I can be out about offing my husband. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kill that bastard. The character, not your husband. There’s some inspiration for you. Wink. The best thing you can do is look at Beth’s comment below and write free, like nobody is going to read it. I will admit that I’ve had to, on more than one occasion, explain that the people in my book are fictional characters, but that’s not going to stop me from creating raw, edgy, honest characters in the future. It’s what we do. We tap into the darkest resources of our brains and make magic. Isn’t that the definition of writing? Now, get busy on killing off that character.


    • I am actually really glad that he found it rather than my having to tell him. I did have to tell my mom, and it was almost like telling your mom about your first tattoo, which I never had to do because I didn’t get any tattoos because my mom wouldn’t have approved, so you see how that conversation must have gone. Thanks for being here.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How mortifying it must have been when you first found out. So glad for you that it’s out now. What a wonderfully supportive father you have. I forget that just one member of my family (and it’s an in-law) reads my blog, and never comments or hits the “like” button. I was reminded one day when I posted something exceedingly shocking and my in-law texted me in tears. I had let a family secret out of the bag, and now that she (and that little part of the family) knows, it’s actually a relief because I can openly talk about it. (I have since unpublished that one post because I really wasn’t completely ready. I was just really mad that day).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow. That would be pretty awkward. I tend to shy away from ultra personal posts, but that’s only because I’m skeert, but how great is it that you don’t have to hide it anymore?

      As for my dad, he’s the best. He has always been my biggest fan, and it’s only multiplied since he found out that I write. I know I’m very lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh wow, Mandi. You must have DIED!!!!! I did just from reading this! Let me take a deep breath for you (*INHALES DEEPLY INTO A PAPER BAG), okay. I’m still dizzy but coming to. Well, the good news is that he loves his daughter and must be beaming with pride!!! 🙂 xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have no secrets. At least, no good ones. And honestly, think about it – if he’s a preacher, he’s likely heard it all right?
    And he already knows that you have an awesome imagination.
    Put down the paper bag, and get back to writing the sequel, because we’re WAITING.
    And I WILL send wine. I promise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh gah, the sequel. How bout you write it? I have started it, but it lost steam, so I put it away. Lately though, those two (B-large and Paige) keep creeping into my thoughts, so maybe it’s time to revisit them. Cheers – thanks for the wine.


  9. This made me cry. How awesome and wonderful and scary and definitely puke-worthy.
    Your dad said the words that popped into my head, too. “When he finishes it, he will be so proud.”
    “Dear Stephanie” is still one of my favorites – I love the characters, the story, the message, and the journey they take to get where they need to go. A preacher and a daddy would understand that fo sho.
    I can’t wait to read his review 🙂

    PS: Heads up – I’m working on a little something-something for my blog that involves you, Beth, Ned, and Carrie Rubin. I’ll drop you a note once I get organized….hoping that happens in the next couple of months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow. I love exciting new things. Yes, let me know. And thank you so much for all of your support and for loving Dear Stephanie and the characters. I spent so much time with them, that they’ve become part of my family, so when someone else loves them, it means so much. Happy new year, MMT!


  10. Oh my! Well obviously I have a few secrets – but I tend to keep those from my blog – since who’d want to know anyhow. But wow,I did not know you can keep your book a secret from the family. I still need to read yours, and am now thinking I better get to it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I like the idea of you “getting to it,” but that’s only because I want everyone everywhere to read it. It’s good, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. The story has an underlying message that I think needs to be told.

      Having said that, it was a huge challenge to keep it secret. On more than one occasion, I felt certain that I was going to be found, and then when I was, it was so mellow that all of the stress wasn’t necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My beautiful friend, I had no idea!!!! Thank you for “coming out” and welcome to being you for ALL the world to see. You are truly an inspiration.


    • I don’t know about inspiration, but I’ll take the kind words. Hi, Kelly! So strange to see someone I know from way back when here. Welcome to my blog. I am super excited that I don’t have to keep this secret anymore.


  12. I’ve kept secret from much of the people whom I love that I’ve been madly in love with a woman for nearly two years. The fact that we couldn’t be public, though, could possibly have killed the most magical relationship I’ve ever experienced. If I’d known that then, I’d have tossed caution to the wind and declared my love as widely and as openly as I possibly could have. The cliche of shouting it from the rooftops and all. I hope it’s not a lost cause.

    I’d have endured whatever ill had come my way as a result. Any of it, all of it, would have been worth it to see this dream matchup become my lifetime reality. Oh, if I’d only …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, Eli. That’s a huge secret. Madly in love – she’s a lucky woman. I hope you and she can “shout it from the roof tops” soon and that it the relationship isn’t dead. Secretly loving someone and not being able to tell everyone how special she is must be gut wrenching and horrible


      • Thanks Mandi. It was difficult not telling the world – but I also have looked forward to rolling out the love after the fact, too. Like, dating as we might if we were just getting into this. Or, seeing if one of our kids would pick up on the vibes between us. Even asking, “hey, (insert kid’s name here) … you think she likes me?” I could get on board with that.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so thrilled for you, Mandi. If only every son or daughter had a father as supportive as yours! Of course he knows Paige isn’t you, but the fact that she is so different proves how imaginative and creative you are, and how your words can weave life into a character and make her real.

    While I’m not a book writer, I think Beth’s comment and advice is excellent – to write freely without worrying about who will read. That’s tough to do – I can’t even do it on my lil ol’ blog, but I have no doubt that you can do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about Beth’s comment. She is so wise, that Beth, and her pinterest boards are so … informative. Seriously though, I only hope I can fill the big shoes my dad has and be as supportive to my own children. He’s certainly set a great example for me.


  14. Darling girl, how could he be anything but proud? You are a writer, a very good one, and everyone should know it. I get the anxiety but, hey!, it’s over. You made it through it like the champ you are and now you can get moving on the next part because I have this incredible need to know what happens next.

    Yes, that was a subtle nudge. 🙂


    • I need to know too, Sandy. Sigh. I will take your nudge and try to get back to writing. You’re such an inspiration to me. Thank you always for your love and encouragement. It means more than you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Awesome post Mandi. I mean that. How many artists hold back for fear of what their parents, siblings, pastor or friends will say. This is a good post to remind us that nothing should hold back our passion. Especially those who don’t have the courage to create for fear of being found out. Your dad is awesome!!


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