My First Year & a Half as a Wordwench + Writing Plans for 2014/15

Just so you know…

I’ve been reading a lot of Chuck Wendig lately. And alcohol and blogging don’t mix. So most of this is probably drunken lunacy. Or it could be his NaNoWriMo bundle homework and I just found time to watch 21 Grams. I will NEVER get that two hours of my life back. NEVER. Who was the baby daddy? Creepy heart dude who keeps puffing cigarettes or dead hubby? Damn you, Chuck Wendig, damn you. I must recover by watching something with crude comedy relief like fart noises or sex bloopers.

That being said…

Happy New Year’s to my small flock of devoted readers, my neurosis sharing writer friends, and the random alcohol driven blog stumblers who’ve somehow managed to find themselves reading my triumphs, rants, and my plans for 2014 and beyond. Since we’re all friends here and feeling all nostalgic and probably a little numb (don’t worry in all probability it’s just the whiskey), I shall proceed with flagrant disregard to writing conventions and use as many damn words in one sentence as possible because I figure you’re all three sheets to the wind (or getting there) and I can be unconventional, just like one of my favorite authors.

I’m looking at you Joey W. Hill.

I love how you can use sixty-seven words in one sentence and it’s purple prose fictional poetry with hot manservants who misbehave, so she has to go all vampire queen on his ass and do bad things to him and force him to service two other women, to make them climax simultaneously, or else bad things will happen to his manhole. Shit, that was only sixty-one. Crap! So close, yet so far. Oh, well. And for the record, I’m going to carelessly drop commas wherever I see fit because my editor is off celebrating too.

This writing journey began…okay, I won’t go all the way back to the Genesis when on the eighth day I was given a magical crayon and a talking gerbil whispered all of Chuck Wendig’s deep, dark, musty secrets into my soul using a babblefish that it implanted into my ear. We’ve heard that tale reiterated countless times and although it’s most likely true, I’ll just back up about a year and a half for the sake of time. We all have more alcohol to consume, bushes to puke on. Don’t look at me like that, it’s a time honored tradition to imbibe more alcoholic beverage than our stomachs can hold, make a bunch of promises to ourselves that we have no intention of keeping, kiss perfect strangers (with tongue), and then spew the contents of our stomachs into the nearest bush, alleyway, or onto an unsuspecting waitress at Denny’s.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah.

This crazy thing called writing.

It’s not like I woke up one day and decided, golly-gee-wiliker, I think I’ll write a book today. Except that I did. We all did, but it usually starts with imaginary childhood friends, doodles, or other things that made us…special. I’d written a bunch of smaller stuff. Crap poetry, all purple prose and pointy teeth. It just didn’t work for me. My mother used to go through my stuff and she thought it was good. So I knew undoubtedly that it was bad. I wrote short stories. Then this terrible thing happened. I’m a writer—we make stuff up and get paid to lie. So I’ll just make this next part up because it’s almost certainly more interesting than the truth. Oh, but there will be a partial truth in it. You just won’t know which part. I’m a tease. 😉

So as I was saying…a very bad thing happened.

Then I went shopping to numb the pain through retail therapy, but it didn’t work. And I backed into my husband’s truck. Then my mother in-laws brand new Cadillac. She’s Italian. Er, wait, she might just be married to one. Nevertheless, she makes a mean spaghetti meatball. All because my mind was somewhere else—where did I go wrong? Maybe if I hadn’t succumbed that ecstasy infused Philly cheesesteak with its greasy gobs of goodness, pure evil, I swear it.

Then I started reading and remembered all the poems that weren’t really any good and the stories that I used to write. It distracted me and kept me from putting dents in parked vehicles. It had absolutely nothing to do with the whiskey. I joke. I joke. I drink wine. Mostly. And sometimes I drink Sake or Tuaca, but not together. That would be kind of gross, almost like the contents that are churning in your stomach as we speak.

So I started writing this contemporary romance / romantic suspense / it didn’t really know or rather I didn’t know what it was trying to be. But it was complete and utter crap. Delete. It was then that I noticed the majority of the books on my Kindle or the books I’d grown up reading were mostly paranormal romances, erotica, especially the BDSM variety. I had this crazy idea that if I wrote what I loved then I could get through an entire novel.

So began the Hellfire Club manuscript. The what? Well, you know it as Eternal Ever After. It was originally entitled the Hellfire Club and I wrote it in the winter of 2012. I wrote 50K in third person and it was a love triangle. It sucked, but it sucked just a little bit less than the Contemporary-Suspense-Hybrid-Parasite that kept stealing and drinking all my whiskey like an Irish leprechaun prowling Scranton’s pubs during a St. Patty’s Day parade. Delete…Wait…No, don’t delete. Go back. Rewrite. Revise. It was the false start that I needed to kill off a character that I didn’t even like. We’ll call him Logan. Then rewrite the entire 50K in first person and rearrange scenes to an order that could grow the characters and plot into the 90K Gothic Cinderella re-telling that it is today.

I thought I wanted to traditionally publish it and I researched, then queried agents, pitched at conferences, twitter stalked agents…you know…just so that I’d know what kind of coffee they liked and hand deliver it while I had them trapped in an elevator on their way to work. No, that’s not creepy at all. They call them elevator pitches for a reason, right? RIGHT?!?! You do know I’m kidding? Don’t do that. It’s not cool. I was surprisingly good at query letters and pitching. I don’t think I ever had someone who didn’t want to see pages or my full manuscript. There were form letters. Some were honest to God free critiques. Or that’s what I’ll call them anyway. I absorbed the wisdom contained in their rejections like a prison shiv aimed straight for my kidneys. You know…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, makes you drink more whiskey, that sort of thing.

Then I discovered a shit ton of blogs dedicated to indie publishing. I read every book on my bucket list. I read things in the genre I was writing, outside the genre I was writing, books that were sitting on the agent’s nightstands that I queried. I’m kidding. Maybe. 😉 I found the most wonderful critique partner and a host of other writers not just online, but at local writing groups all hopped up on caffeine fueled self-doubt. These were my people. I’d found community. I’d found home. I found that I could measure productivity by how greasy my hair was but, if my soft kitty t-shirt started to smell like sweat and percolate its own coffee it was time for me to take a shit and go shave. Kidding. Sort of. 😉 I discovered a kick ass audio guy who produces all my audiobooks. Mike. His wife likes my smut. I hired an editor and a cover designer. Alexis keeps me from being comma deficient. I learned how to format e-books and started teaching others how to do it too. And I found that occasionally people pay me for this skill.

In a year and a half I have a cozy little website, blog, a newsletter, and tons of online places where people can be social with me. Or send me pictures of their cats. I’m a sucker for cat pictures and baby commercials. I wrote a paranormal erotica short story anthology that prequels the series and it’s available in print, e-book, and audio. Oh, and now it’s in German too. I wrote and published a full length novel that’s in print and e-book. Mike’s doing the audio on it as we speak. Well maybe not as we speak…he’s probably celebrating New Year’s with his wife in naughty ways inspired by my writing. And I wrote a paranormal Christmas short story to fill in the gap between the novel and book two in the series, just for fun, because I felt like it.

So what’s next on the agenda?

In February, I’m involved in a charity project with all proceeds to benefit the American Heart Association and the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s in the form of a poetry anthology. Then book two in the Ever After series has some shocks in store that I already know some of you might not be happy about. BUT there is a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow that will be delivered via extra material at the end of book two. Well in the e-book anyway. Release date to be announced. Then book three.

And I’ve got this idea that I already wrote the opening scene on a piece of notebook paper on my nightstand which is currently the coaster for an empty wine glass that I’ll be refilling in about five minutes. It mixes up some Shakespeare with shifters that may or may not be the start of another series. After that I may have to tackle that little somethin’ somethin’ that I’m going to share my plans for in the extras at the end of book two. Oh, I also read the Naked Truth and did some propositioning as part of my big plans for 2014. It sounds way dirtier than it actually is! 😉 All the above mentioned writing plans should carry me well into 2015.

At any rate…that’s what a year and a half of writing looks like and I so happy that some of you actually enjoy it enough to take the time to read and review it on Amazon. Happy New Year everyone!

xoxo -A.C.

By A.C. James

A.C. James resides in northeast Pennsylvania where she entertains her boyfriend who loves her imaginative yarns and quirky sense of humor. She spends her time drinking large vats of coffee while taming two toddlers by day and writing by night. Recovering video game beta tester and tech geek who grew-up going to cons and watching SmackDown. There’s probably some cosplay pictures around somewhere of her dressed up as Bloodberry from Saber Marionette J. Just don’t tell anyone.