I’m sure most of you will know by now – because I keep banging on about it! – that I came back to the world of erotic fiction in 2012. Prior to that, it had been a good few years – the exact number will remain undisclosed, thanks very much – since I wrote for the adult market.
I came back to the genre because I had an idea for a story, a story that would ultimately become Port In A Storm. I began the process of writing it while on holiday in Spain. I was suffering from what I suppose you could call a case of ‘professional/life-burnout’ (or if you were very unkind, a case of feeling extremely sorry for myself) and I went with my partner to visit family, drink too much wine and generally get away from things for a while. That was when main character Jake jumped into my head.
In November 2012 I self-published Port In A Storm. I did so because the publishers I had worked with or had heard of back in the day – I’m making this sound like ancient history when it really wasn’t – had all disappeared. I didn’t personally know anyone who still wrote erotica and I didn’t know where to start when it came to publishers, but I had heard of self-publishing. With the help of my partner, a former IT guy, I got Port formatted and onto the market.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much and that, in the end, was what I got. I did my best to promote it, shop it around to review sites, but the truth is the story didn’t make much of an impact.
Now, technically that was fine with me. The entire purpose of the exercise had been, in the main, a self-healing one. I wanted to prove I could still write something, wanted to prove that if I ever needed it there would be a life outside of the professional one I had spent the previous X amount of years building for myself. I would have been happy to disappear back to my muddy archaeological digs and let sleeping dogs lie.
But there was a slight problem.
You see, as much as Port hadn’t set the literary world alight, it did receive some really nice reviews. And I mean really, really nice reviews. I had people email me to tell me – in possibly too much detail! – how they read parts of the story in bed aloud with their partners and then proceeded to… Well, like I said. Possibly too much detail.
I had people say kind things, accompanied by four and five stars on Goodreads and Amazon. They weren’t turning out in their thousands by any means, but for my little scruffy novel, ripped from my hands (in my mind) early by my partner who was sick of me tinkering with it every evening, it was pretty impressive. And really, that’s why I’m still here now.
It wasn’t long before I took Port down. I knew it wasn’t as good as it could have been, had probably always known that since I kept tinkering with it right up until the second my partner forced me to hit submit on Amazon and Smashwords. But, those characters wouldn’t go away. You see, there’s so much of me in that book. Too much, I think sometimes, and a lot of people I know or used to know. So, I stayed in this little erotic fiction world, messing around with short stories, never looking at the manuscript for Port, but always keeping it in the back of my mind.
This summer, I finally took it out and dusted it down. Ultimately, I rewrote it. The characters remained much the same, the love story between Jake and Alex as passionate, desperate and tempestuous as before, but by the time I was done the same couldn’t be said for the story. Relationships were altered, character histories were rewritten, even locations were adapted. I submitted it to an editor, had it accepted, and then… I panicked.
Like I said, this is a personal story for me. When I first self-pubbed it in 2012 it was part of a healing exercise. Facing the idea of it going out into the world with a publisher behind it, I froze. It was too personal, people who know me would recognise themselves in the story – perhaps not in a good way. I withdrew Port and tinkered some more and then, when I found my balls, sent it to another editor and now here I sit, at my dining room table, the day before release day, wondering what you’re all going to make of the story that brought me back to writing.
Port In A Storm will be released tomorrow. It is a very different beast now than it was before. It is better – but I would say that, wouldn’t I? – and I hope those of you (as in pretty much everyone!) who missed it first time round will find it now and enjoy it. And for the handful of people who did read it in its barebones state, thank you for the kind words that got me and my story to this point. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it a second time, but if you don’t want to, then all I can say is that’s perfectly fine and thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU for all your kind words of encouragement.
Have a wonderful day everybody. Here’s to tomorrow! 🙂