I've written seven books.
|The Key is a story included in Perfectly Unique: The Missing Pieces Anthology, written to support Autism Speaks. Honeymoons, Harpies & House Arrest will be released in late fall of this year.|
Sometimes I wonder at the fact that I've done this ... I mean, I have a lot going on during any given day. Up until a year ago, I was a full-time homeschooling mom for two kids, and for the last four years, I've been a freelance editor. I've created and built and maintained my own editing company, carted kids to and from school, run my household and dealt with two major wrist surgeries and the chronic pain I feel now because of them. The fact that I've managed to concentrate long enough on a single project to see it through to publication - let alone seven of them - really is kind of a surprise. The first book did take me almost thirteen years to complete, so there's that, but the other six I wrote and published within six years, so my track record has improved over time. Just goes to show that if something means enough to you, you'll carve out the necessary time it takes to see it through to completion.
Every project seems different to me, and they are. Just like I read, I write in many genres, and that's a lot of fun. I didn't set out to do that, I just write what comes to me, what fuels me. I have two different series, a stand alone, and now a collection, and they're all unique in their own way. I'm going to include here the letter I wrote at the beginning of Acquainted With Butterflies to explain what kind of book it is and how it came to be.
Back in 2012, shortly before I published my first novel, I began blogging. I thought it would be a good way for me to advertise my books and to share all the thoughts and feelings I had throughout the writing and publishing process. It was, and I’m glad I started it. My blog was titled J.C. Wing—Author. Short, simple and to the point. I was so overwhelmed at the time by being a newbie in the book world that this was all the extra creativity I could muster.
About a year later, I changed the name of my blog to J.C. Wing and the Goddess. I didn’t explain the name change, and no one asked. Quite honestly, I didn’t have more than a handful of followers, and if any of them noticed the change, none of them thought to mention it. I was basically using the blog as a brain dump. I wasn’t concerned with traffic, and I continued to post—although sporadically—simply because I enjoyed doing so.
In July 2016, A.K. Lawrence, a good friend and fellow author, asked me to join her on a thirty-day writing challenge. I’d never posted anything on a daily basis, but it sounded like fun. It was. So much so, in fact, that after that first thirty days was over, we found another challenge to tackle. We even started a Facebook group called Writing Challenge Warriors and had a few other loyal bloggers writing with us. We wrote daily through the end of the year, then weekly as we began 2017. When we decided to take a break, I’d written a total of 143 posts, and J.C. Wing and the Goddess had become much more than just a brain dump for me. (Incidentally, the release of Dead Beat Dates & Deities, the first book in the Goddess of Tornado Alley series cleared up any questions those quiet followers might have had about that name change my blog had undergone years earlier.)
Many of the prompts for our daily challenges urged me to share incredibly personal stories. Many of those were difficult for me because I chose to let down my guard and write honestly. I’ve included a few of those here in this collection, though most of the articles are works of fiction. I’ve added in a sprinkling of poetry. I don’t write much of that now―unless the limericks I penned for Brides, Beasts & Baklava count―but during my middle school, high school and early adult years, I used this form of expression in abundance. You don’t know how lucky you are that I’ve chosen to be selective about which poems made the final cut. You’re welcome.
Until I took part in this series of challenges, I hadn’t written many short stories. Within a few months, I had authored quite a few. Those stories are what I wanted to share most in Acquainted with Butterflies. Some of them are funny, some of them hold a bit of mystery, and a few of them are on the romantic side. A Day in Paris is a countdown story, beginning with the number ten and ending at number one, and In the Pursuit of Spring shows just how dramatic and over the top a teenage girl’s imagination can be. One of the prompts asked us to modernize our favorite fairy tale. I chose The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann. My version, The Nutcracker and the Cheeseball, is much lighter and much funnier than the original. A couple of short stories that came from this six months of daily blog writing are absent because they’ve grown into full length novel ideas. Writing is an adventure, and ideas pop up all the time. My stories tend to linger inside my head, and there are a few of them included in the following pages that may also become much longer pieces in the future.
I hope you enjoy this collection. I invite you to come and hang out with me and the goddess on my blog. You never know what we might come up with next.
I'll be honest ... I get nervous before I release every single book. Like every author, I work really hard to write my novels and every one of them means a great deal to me. I still remember how I felt before Dead Beat Dates & Deities launched. I have a sense of humor I didn't really show in the books I'd written before. I wasn't sure how readers were going to react to all the sarcasm, sexual innuendo and Greek mythology. Turns out they were just fine with it ... but then I released Brides, Beasts & Baklava and I was nervous for different reasons. Was it as good as the first one? Was it still funny? Did I do my characters justice? It's different with every book, but I always feel nervous and nauseous before each launch. Acquainted With Butterflies really had me stressed out.
|The back cover of Acquainted With Butterflies in paperback.|
This one is extremely personal. There are a lot of short stories here, some of which will eventually be expanded and turned into their own novels. Come to find out, readers like it when I write spooky stuff just as much as they like the romantic comedy. I love that. And y'all just wait. I've got some real fun headed your way.
Everything in Acquainted With Butterflies was published right here first - except for the poetry. I think maybe one of those poems saw the light of day on this blog, but the rest of them had never been shared before. I bared my soul with this collection ... but it had been bared before. I have a lot of post views - okay, not as many as I'd like, but a fair amount - so I know these stories and essays had already been read. Still, it felt different seeing it all in book form. The reviews for this book have floored me. I'm so glad I jumped into this. I'm so happy I pushed past my fear of publishing this assortment of writing. The reaction to it has made my heart swell. You readers are the absolute best.
"What a raw, vulnerable, and emotional read! I don't think I've ever connected with an author so intimately as with this mix of poetry, short stories and personal essays. It truly showcases her range and writing abilities as she goes from second-chance love, to humor, to criminal thriller. She is exceptionally gifted and conveys things so beautifully. I felt everything while reading this and would love to see her expand a couple of them into novels in the future. I was already a fan of hers, but this has completely blown me away and I highly recommend it." - Pixel3131
"A startling collection of short stories and musings. J.C. Wing left me protesting, wanting more with each story, sometimes celebrating joy and other times feeling empty. "Some Things Just Are" touched me deeply. A lovely read." - Robin N.
"Acquainted with Butterflies by J. C. Wing is a wonderful collection of short stories, personal essays and poetry. Stories range from suspenseful and spooky to humorous, all very enjoyable. Some hint at a future full-length novel in their future, at least you hope so. You really want to know what happens next. The essays give you a deeply personal glimpse into events in J.C.’s life. The poems are bright, sparkly visions of life. All in all, Butterflies is a quality collection. I look forward to more from J. C. Wing." - Kelly Green
I keep learning the same lesson when it comes to my writing, with starting my own business, with making difficult decisions ... with everything in life, really; if you don't trust yourself enough to jump in, if you don't believe you'll swim instead of sinking straight to the bottom, you've failed before you've really given yourself a chance to succeed. I hope the nervousness never goes away. That's part of my process. I don't ever want launching a new book to lose its excitement. I want that sick to my stomach feeling, over and over and over again. And having said that, it's time to jump back into Honeymoons, Harpies & House Arrest. This one's a hoot, which means I'll have plenty to feel nervous about.