Author Archives: A.J. Matthews

About A.J. Matthews

A transplanted mid-Atlantic girl now in the southeast, I spend most days corralling crazy children, spoiling a neurotic cat, making my husband shake his head, and writing about angtsy 20-somethings, historical hotties, & hard-headed women.

My gigantic news!

Standard

Aaaaaaand here it is. My big news.

I GOT A BOOK DEAL, Y’ALL!

From Swoon Romance, an amazing publisher that is burning up the world of romance!

A book. With my name on the cover and all my words inside on the 200+ pages. To be sold on Amazon and stuff. Really? Somebody wants to pay me for my writing? Shut the front door!

When I opened the offer e-mail, I was all

say what

And then I read the publisher’s unbelievably flattering words about my story, and then…

happy cry

Then I wanted to shout…

excited_elf

But that would have awoken the sleeping three-year old in the next room, and we all know what happens when you wake a sleeping tot:

So I kept muttering “oh my God” over and over and my husband finally looked up from his Popular Mechanics magazine to ask “What. Is. Wrong?” I couldn’t speak so I  shoved my laptop at him and wordlessly pointed at the screen. He’s the one who noticed it was a two-book offer. Because I hadn’t gotten past “I would be honored to publish GOODBYE TO YOU in summer 2014.” So I reminded myself to

Okay. Thanks for that, Benedict. Then I called my BFF Brenda. Who got all

And got me started again. I cried some more. We laughed and I danced. This is what I looked like:

tumblr_lc43e6YnMu1qceirf

and I imagine this is how she looked in her house hundreds of miles from me.

This is what we would like if we were together:

tina and amy happy dance

We hung up and for the next few days, before I responded to the offer (I had some other submissions out, so I had to notify those folks) there were moments where I broke down and was like

sally-field-you-like-me

And then other moments where I was like this:

stewie-bouncing-o

So as of today, it’s all official. First book to come out  July 1, with the second book to release early 2015.

For all the times my inner critic said, after I read my own stuff:

image

I say:

rachel-tongue.gif

Thanks to everyone who has supported me through the years, and especially friends and family who read early versions of GOODBYE TO YOU (Mom, Aunt Peggy, Brenda, Olivia, Amy, Lola, Barbara, Jenna, Kathy, and Kristin, you ladies rock!)

And finally, to Georgia McBride, Mandy Schoen, and the rest of the Swoon Romance team, thanks for taking a chance on me and my little book. I think…

I love you

I can’t wait to work with you!

Writing and Facebook and Twitter, Oh My!

Standard

I’m pretty busy, working part-time, keeping my girls from maiming one another, still unpacking from the move, and trying to keep our new home clean and somewhat organized. I don’t get out much, and stay in touch with my friends primarily through Facebook. But oh man, is it a timesuck. You jump on to say “Hey,” see what everyone is up to, and before you know it, you’ve whiled away the past hour looking at funny cat pictures, getting into political arguments with people you don’t know, and reading story after story linked from Gawker. 

At least, that’s what I do. Then I complain I have no time to write. 

Back in the late fall, before the move, I went on a two-week Facebook sabbatical, to see if it really made a difference. Know what happened?

I wrote a book. A 60,000 word book. In two weeks. Granted, it was garbage, as pretty much all first drafts are. What, you think Nora Roberts spits out polished prose ready for the NYT bestseller’s list? She actually calls her own process of drafting vomiting out the words on to the page, or something like that. She says “you can fix anything but a blank page,” so you have to make the pages not blank.

In the fall, and this week, I am using a process called Fast Draft by the amazing Candace Havens. A couple weeks of prep – getting to know your characters, basic plotting – and then two weeks of no-holds barred, all-out word vomiting until you type “The End.” No editing allowed.

This process is not for everyone, but it worked for me. To do it, though, I have to give up Facebook, and fall behind on my TV watching. I discovered the last time that I can do without “Bones” and “Glee” for a couple weeks. It was tough, but I lived to tell the story.

What about the other social media timesuck, Twitter? I actually found Twitter to be a helpful tool during the Fast Draft process. I use Tweet Deck, and I can set it up so I can only see special feeds or mentions. That way I avoid the clog of entertaining, but useless, feeds while I am hunkered down writing. The Fast Drafters used a special hashtag, and tracked one another’s progress, like word counts during our daily writing sprints of 15, 30, 60 minutes. Seeing how these other busy ladies could get their word counts in throughout the day inspired me to do the same. And. It. Worked.

So I bid you adieu, sweet Facebook, for two weeks. I will miss you and my lovely friends. But at the end of two weeks,I will have birthed a new baby novel, ready for shaping and revising and submitting.

And hopefully selling. Because if I don’t sell something soon, my husband’s gonna make me go get a job where I can’t work in sweats. And nobody wants to see that happen.

Moving sucks! (and decorating a new house is sometimes unfun, too)

Standard

I spent six months in a crap-ass apartment that I am sure gave me mold poisoning or something equally heinous. I did this with two girls under the age of five, and a teenage son who slept on a sofa bed in the living room, which doubled as my work-from-home husband Jay’s office. You can imagine the death stares the teen shot at Jay when he got paged for some IT emergency at half-past-the-buttcrack of midnight and had to join an all-hands conference call, lest the world as we know it implode.

But I digress. The reason we spent six months in this rat-hole apartment was because we were building a new house that would not be ready till Winter, and we sold our old house in a record four days. We finally moved in ten days before Christmas, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE our house. It’s open and spacious and has so much more functional space than the old house, important when you both work from home and have small children to monitor.

The best and worst things about moving into a new space are the same (aside from packing and unpacking, but the hell of that is same as the certainty of death and taxes.) I’m talking about decorating, folks. Jay only really cared about the purchase of appliances, the new television, and the surround sound system. The rest – up to me.

The playroom was a hit – with the girls, as it should have been. I took this:

Image

And turned it into this:ImageJay says to me, finally, about six weeks after the room was done, “Wow hon, this turned out great. You should be proud of yourself.” Yes, yes I am. I wonder how long it will take him to notice what this sometimes crafty, bedazzlin’ bitch did to her side of the home office?Image

Image

Amazing what some scrapbook paper can do to transform some blah cork tiles, old binders, and magazine files, huh? And even if Jay doesn’t notice (or doesn’t care) at least I have my oldest girl, aka Silver Tooth, to tell me, “Mommy, you didded a good job on your awfiss!”

Image

Gawd, I love that kid! So tell me, what has been your most ridiculous moving and/or decorating venture?