Christmas is over and the New Year is almost upon us–which means it’s time for my annual year-in-review!
This was such a massive year for me as an author and us as a community, but I’ve gone through and picked out a few highlights!
This year, the K. M. Shea team and I…
- Went to an author conference with my Entwined Tales buddies and got to meet so many amazing authors, like Lindsay Buroker and Raye Wagner!
- Wrote and launched the first three Fairy Tale Enchantress books–Reign of Magic was, in particular, a huuuge accomplishment
- Got my Timeless Fairy Tale ebook covers redone
- Experimented with Retha short stories and different formats for extras–like the “Between a Prince and His Lady” short
- Organized our “Fantastic February Facebook Event” with a lot help from Myrhlynn! Annette Marie, Elise Kova, Julie Hall, Holly Hook, and Lydia Sherrer all attended, and together we had a smashing good time!
- Meg got the rest of my books–including the long awaited Goose Girl–up as paperbacks, so now we’ll just be on a cycle of waiting several months after a new release to catch the typos before we load it up and send it out.
- Created the Bookplates that were in the December giveaway
Together, our community…
- Held our first Summer Read Along for the City Between series–which was so much fun and had guest appearances by W. R. Gingell
- The Heroes of Retha kinship on Lord of the Rings online celebrated their first anniversary in December
- Voted in the annual Hero and Heroine polls–Angelique caused a pretty big shakeup this year 😉
- The discord community has grown by leaps and bounds
- This year’s reader survey revealed a lot of interesting tid-bits. The 2018 survey was what inspired our Summer Read Along, and already the 2019 survey inspired my “Between a Prince and his Lady” short story!
- Of course we had our massive Christmas Event as usual
- Newsletter Champions voted for Red Rope of Fate as their Valentine’s gift in 2019–I look forward to seeing what you Champions choose for 2020!
We all did a lot more than this, but I still have other stuff I’d like to cover in this post, which leads me into the last portion, general observations/things I’ve learned this year:
The biggest lesson I learned this year was that I have writing limits. In the past, as long as I kept myself focused I could write at a pretty good speed and release quickly. That came to a crashing halt this year when I met the complicated puzzle that is the Fairy Tale Enchantress series. It was so fun to get to show you what’s been going behind the scenes and to stitch everything together, but I greatly underestimated how taxing this would be to me personally, and I came perilously close to burnout while writing Reign of Magic.
Hmm, yeah, okay, in all honesty I didn’t come close…I went crashing into burnout like a massive asteroid. Some writers thrive with tiny details, complicated timelines, endless characters, and so on. (Tolkien is a perfect example of this.) I enjoy it, but because it takes a lot of mental effort to keep everything straight I couldn’t write at a pace I was used to–something which massively freaked me out.
It was still a good lesson to learn. I’m going to be a lot more mindful of planning my writing schedule, and I’m purposely going to write lighter, fluffier, easier books between the three remaining Angelique books. (I was actually looking back on my 2018 reflection post, and I could have happily strangled myself. In that post I note how the Second Age of Retha series and the Timeless Fairy Tale series are a lot more complex and taxing, and I’ll need to be careful not to burn myself out. HAHAH. HAH. HAH. Thank you, past self, for totally ignoring that advice. You are the best. Srsly.)
In all of this, I also learned how grateful I am for you all as my loyal Champions, but also for the community in general.
Over this past year it has been my honor and joy to watch you guys pull together as a community–whether it was sharing theories in our Read-Along event, or talking about Angelique & Co in the comments or on discord. (I can’t tell you guys how happy it makes me when I see a comment on the blog or in discord where a new Champion asks you seasoned Champions a question, and you all take the time to answer.)
And when I made my announcement that I was taking a break from writing for a while, your kind comments and genuine concern actually made me cry a few times. I am so blessed to have such caring and understanding Champions and such a strong and fun community.
Looking ahead to next year…
Since 2019 was a bit of a tough year for me mentally–it took me a lot longer to learn my “avoid burnout” lesson than I would have liked–I’m going to be extra careful in 2020. I still don’t know quite what my writing schedule is going to be for the year–I’m trying not to think about it yet–though as I mentioned I’ll be layering my Angelique books, so there is no way I’ll finish the series in 2020.
We will be starting the year off with a bang! As I mentioned in a previous post, the massive Timeless Fairy Tale sale begins January 1st, and I’ve got a special secret coming hopefully some time in February, so we’re going to ring in the year with style! We are going to still hold the annual Hero Poll, but I don’t precisely know when it will be due to the aforementioned special secret, so stay tuned for more info.
Thank you so much for joining me, the K. M. Shea team, and our community for another year together. I can’t wait to see what we do in 2020!