2019 Wrap Up

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It’s not only the end of another year, but a whole decade! This has been an amazing year for me as I finally achieved my lifelong goal of becoming a published author. Allow me a moment to indulge as I reflect on the year gone by.

2019 has been a whirlwind for both my personal life and creative life. No one wants to know about my day job, but let’s just say there’s been exams, job interviews, and lots of hard work, and I’ll enter 2020 with a bit more stability. 2019 was also the year I visited Bristol for their annual Hot Air Balloon festival (which was cancelled because it rained constantly, doh), finally get to visit the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds concert, watch the remake of my favourite Disney film in the cinema; Aladdin, play some great video games such as Undertale for the first time, and read some amazing books. I’m almost done with Tamora Pierce’s Tempests and Slaughter!

And of course, 2019 was the year I revealed my debut book Sand Dancer to the world. Read on!

Joining Uproar Books

In January, I announced that my Young Adult Fantasy had been picked up by Uproar Books, a small press, to become their second published book. Since then, they’ve signed up three more authors and are still growing. Of course, I had been working with Uproar Books for some time before January as they helped edit my book and get it ready for publication. During the time between January and its official release in July, there were more edit passes and a cover reveal for my beautiful book. Advanced Reader Copies went out and it earned some lovely reviews there and on Goodreads.

I’ve had a positive experience with Uproar Books and look forward to working with them on Sand Dancer’s sequel. If you’re curious why I chose to sign up with a small press, and how that differs from self-publishing or traditional presses, check out this blog entry which explains a lot more!

Cymera

Before Sand Dancer’s release, I went all the way to Edinburgh for the very first Cymera festival, a new convention for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror! For their first ever convention it started with a bang and an amazing line up of guest speakers and authors. I never got around to writing about my experiences (something I’ll rectify for Cymera 2020) but I got the chance to hear some amazing fantasy and Young Adult fantasy authors talk about their books and writing journey. A big highlight for me was hearing V. E Schwab talk in person. One thing I loved about Cymera was their support for indies. They encouraged indie authors to read out extracts of their books before the big name authors, and they also held a creators hall for indies to sell their wares.

I came out of that convention much poorer, and with a bag full of books, including indie books! If you’re based in the UK, I recommend taking a trip to their next festival in 2020. I’ll see you there!

The Launch of Sand Dancer

On July 1st, Sand Dancer launched on paperback and ebook. It was a scary and exciting time as reviews of my book came rolling in and I suddenly released I had to practice my book-signing signature because my handwriting is truly atrocious. I sold books! I gave away free books! I even held a launch party with prizes and, yeah, I got myself a cake of my book haha who wouldn’t? I’m proud of this book and the journey I went on to get to this point, and I’m truly grateful for the support along the way. If you bought my book, thank you! If you read it, thank you again! And if you reviewed it, you get BIG THANKS!

If you’re curious about how Sand Dancer came to be, I wrote a breakdown of my experience writing draft one to the final published version, and a reflection on what I would change if I could do it all over again.

Writing Sand Dancer 2

Whilst I was still editing Sand Dancer and trying to promote it after its launch, I was also writing the sequel. I started Sand Dancer 2 in January before the first book was even announced and I rather optimistically told Uproar Books that it would take me six months to write it. I want you to all laugh with me now because, dear reader, I’m STILL writing it. You see, when I wrote the first book I had a lot more free time! And it’s hard to juggle writing one book when promoting another. I did actually manage to finish an early draft of book 2 by the middle of August, but the draft was too big and needed to be cut in half.

That is where my struggles came. I was adamant at the time that it couldn’t be split, but after many tears, I did indeed manage it. In fact, I’m pretty close to finishing this draft now and will get it done in time for the new year. But, it was hard. It was made harder by real life kicking my ass and my poor cat dying this year. But, progress is progress and I feel like I’ve developed as a person and a writer, as cliched as that is.

The morale of the story? Books take time to write. And if you’re reading this, Uproar Books, don’t listen to me when I say I’ll get in done in six months! It’s all lies!

What’s Next in 2020?

The next decade is looking set to be even busier!

For 2020, I’ll be working hard to finish Sand Dancer’s sequel and hopefully release it before Christmas. I’m hoping to launch straight into Sand Dancer 3. I’m sure they’ll be more fire, blood, and tears. And who knows, maybe I’ll get time to write something new, we’ll see! I’m also planning to attend more book conventions in the UK including Cymera 2020. I’ll update this blog when I know which conventions I’ll be shilling my books at.

That’s enough rambling for now. I’ll be posting a separate entry for my New Year’s Resolutions in 2020! See you next decade!

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