We’re already a month into the new year and I’ve been spending a lot of time looking ahead, working on my goals for this year. But today I wanted to look back and reflect on last year and how I made progress.
Improving My Health
I took a break during basically all of 2018 because of health issues. I’d already written Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts, so I published that in January and wanted to follow it up with the next book soon after, but life got in the way. I was focused on one personal issue which involved a lot of testing, waiting for specialist appointments, two surgeries, and recovery. My right wrist was also in pain but I ignored that while I was dealing with other things. In late 2018, I was finally diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome so I at least knew what the problem was.
So early in 2019, I was finally able to get an appointment with a physical therapist who helped me deal with my wrist. I had to do a lot of stretches and exercises to reduce pain and build strength again. I also had to relearn how to do many basic activities so I wouldn’t continue to hurt myself. This includes holding a pen, typing on a keyboard, and using a computer mouse. Thanks to a wrist brace and some new ergonomic equipment, I am finally able to do most things again. I’ve finished physical therapy but I continue to work on the stretches at home and set a timer so I take breaks.
Back to Writing
With my health improving, I was able to get back to writing again after more than a year. I wrote three novels and published two in 2019 (the third one came out in January this year). I also wrote a prequel novella and several short stories, participating in two anthologies. Here’s everything I published:
- Amena’s Rise to Stardom! (Divine Warriors #0)
- Riwenne & the Bionic Witches (Divine Warriors #2)
- Riwenne & the Airship Gambit (Divine Warriors #3)
- The Pirate Cat and the Merkitty
- A Witch’s Halloween Surprise (Fae of Calaveras Halloween Special)
- 2019 Halloween Short Story Challenge
- 2019 Christmas Spirit Short Story Anthology
- Vilqa’s Gift for the Sea Goddess (Divine Warriors Holiday Special)
- The Ghost on Winter Solstice (Wyld Magic Holiday Special)
- Merry Witchmas, Mom (Santa Cruz Witch Academy Holiday Special)
Wow, I can’t believe how much I accomplished! It was really great to write again so I had a lot of momentum. I also got new covers for the Fae of Calaveras series, Riwenne & the Mechanical Beasts, and The Voyage of the Miscreation. I love looking at all the new covers lined up together on the site and they’re even more beautiful in person.
I also had a great launch for Bionic Witches, the biggest I’ve ever had for a book, and that made 2019 my best sales year to date. Thanks to my new street team, The Witchlings, who help me get the word out! It’s great to know that people are reading and enjoying my stories enough to pay for more. And of course, it’s wonderful to read reviews online or to receive personal notes from readers to let me know what they think.
This year, I will focus more on novels than short stories. You can read about my 2020 plans.
I entered the fifth annual Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog-Off. Together with other authors, I created a list to highlight books in the competition with LGBTQ+ characters. I’ve been reviewing books from the competition since then, mostly from that list. There have also been fun opportunities like group promotions, interviews on other blogs, and the SPFBO Sampler.
My book was eliminated in the first round, but I was still happy to participate. I’m watching the final round to see what the outcome will be for the ten finalists.
Redesigning My Website and Newsletters
You may have noticed that the look of my website changed. I hope it’s more streamlined and easy to find what you’re looking for. I’m still working on making it look beautiful, so you’ll see more changes in 2020.
Also, I’ve grown more active in my newsletter to give more regular updates. I actually split it into three groups. The main author newsletter still gets updates on new books, behind the scenes peeks and deleted content, now on a weekly basis. Also weekly, I have a separate group for promotions, The Frugal Unicorn, so I can share deals from other fantasy authors. I’m a reader who goes through a lot of books, so I’m always looking for sales! The third group is the street team that I mentioned, The Witchlings, who get to read all my new books before anyone else and help spread the word about releases.
I plan to continue all three newsletters in 2020 and see how I can improve them so readers can stay updated with the news they’re interested in. It’s been a lot of fun to come up with new things and to hear back from people who enjoy them.
My Personal Life
Besides my health problems, my personal life was pretty good in 2019. I went on some nice vacations and had visits from family. I moved into a new home with more space (that I’m still organizing and fixing up), and I feel like my family is doing much better than our old place. I’m also exploring and learning about the new town I’ve moved into, which is an adventure.
With the new space, my son was able to adopt a dog. He’s still getting used to my cat, Yuri, but there is plenty of room for both pets to be comfortable. Our house has a two-pet limit, so we won’t be getting another cat. However, there is a place of honor for the ashes of our old cat, Nightshade.
And according to my Goodreads Challenge, I read 65 books in 2019!