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2019: a year in review

Here we are again, end of another year (or rather, the beginning of a new one because as usual, I’m slow at getting this shit written.)

Actually, it’s the end of the decade, and what an eventual period of time the 2010s turned out to be. In summary: I graduated university, moved to Japan, moved home from Japan, got married, had a baby and turned thirty—all in that order and thankfully not at once.

But we’re here to talk about 2019 and everything that has transpired in what has been a pretty momentous year for me and not just because I turned the big three-oh.

So, let’s break it down.

WHAT I DID

First and foremost, the biggest achievement for me personally in 2019 was the birth of my first son back in March. While I was a little dubious over my ability to be a mother, I—very predictably—have to say it has been the greatest experience of my life.

Well, not the whole birthing thing (the local hospital doesn’t administer epidurals so it was au naturel for this here warrior queen) or even the newborn phase because, let’s face, screaming shitting sleep-allergic potatoes are not fun.

But then you both get used to each other and everything is amazing. Those who follow me on social media, particularly Instagram, have no doubt seen how smitten I am—and with good reason!

Happy New Baby: Baby R arrived 11:46 PM on 14.03.2019

Another big achievement for me this year was quitting my job, which now means I am now a full-time writer! The (poor) dream! Temporarily, at least, while I hunt for a part-time gig that keeps food on the table and is flexible enough for me to still parent my child.

Currently, I am writing freelance for the incredible writing resource website, Writer’s Edit. I’ve had a bunch of articles published for them in 2019 and even more on the way in the new year, so watch this space (or that space, really).

Baby Abroad: Enjoyed our first family holiday to Japan in November 2019

In November, I had my first trip back to my second home in Japan since leaving in April 2017. While it was absolutely amazing to visit, travelling with a baby had its challenges and the reason for our holiday was not exactly joyous as we headed back so our son could meet his paternal great-grandmother, who had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. Sadly, she passed away just before Christmas but we were so very lucky we were able to say good bye (especially because we did not get that chance with my father-in-law, who died last year).

Okay, so that took a rather sombre turn! Time to lighten things up again.

WHAT I READ

Well, having a new baby and adjusting to motherhood meant a lot of routines were out the window and the sacrifice I made to capitalise on sleep was reading.

Books and Babies: They don’t mix …

I’m not a fast reader—three pages and I’m asleep, usually—so getting through even six books a year is quite an achievement for me. Sadly, I only made it through three books in 2019 (four if you count the baby book I read but let’s not). I will get around to writing proper reviews early next year but for now, here’s a quick overview:

  • Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire ★★★
  • Call Down the Hawk – Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★★
  • Relic – Bronwyn Eley ★★★☆

I will do better in 2020—promise!

WHAT I WROTE

Given the whole baby thing, I am exceedingly surprised by how much I have to report here. 2019 has been an incredibly productive year for me as a writer.

Published: The first Gardens of War & Wasteland short story was released on Wattpad in December.

In addition to finishing the self-edit of The Ruptured Sky (which I’d been working on since the end of 2016…) I also churned out sixteen flash fictions, five short stories and three non-fiction articles.

So, in case you missed them:

Phew, what a year. So, where do we go from here?

WHAT’S AHEAD

First things first, I will be completing the final edits of The Ruptured Sky in early 2020. I’ve been working closely with a good friend/critique partner to get the manuscript in fine form so I can start querying publishers.

Yes, that’s right: 2020 is the year I begin my quest for publication. I’m still open to indie/self-publishing as well, so if I can’t find a publishing house that suits, I will then look to go down that road.

Once The Ruptured Sky is complete, I will be diving straight into the first draft of Book Two, which already has the first two chapters roughly written. Thanks to the beta process and working closely with an editor, the whole Gardens of War & Wasteland trilogy is coming together and I’m really excited to see where things end up.

Story Submitted: Hopefully there will be more of this in 2020

I also plan to be a regular participant of AWC’s Furious Fiction in 2020, and will actually submit my entries instead of sitting on half-baked drafts. #flashfictionfriday may or may not continue in the new year, but there are more GoWW prequels in the works.

There is also a new project up my sleeve, which mailing list subscribers will be getting a sneak peek of in January’s newsletter. If you’re keen to find out more, you can subscribe now to have it automatically delivered to your inbox upon release.

On a more personal note, I’m hoping 2020 will finally be the year I get myself in shape, eat a better diet and keep my god-forsaken house at least one level above pig sty.

Wish me luck!

xx

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