The Personal Stuff
There have also been bright spots. I went on holiday with my school friends to Greece and spent the best part of a week walking around in the sunshine, visiting landmarks, eating tasty food, and surviving storm alerts. And this month, Arizona, Fudgestick, and I went on a trip to Blackpool for her birthday - it was very wet and windy (and had storm alerts, so I might start questioning my luck when it comes to holidays!)
Ari and I have also done some really fun tax-deductable dates, including going to a talk about serial killers, and a post-mortem experience. We have plenty of fodder and ideas for our Amethyst's Wand Shop Mysteries series as a result!
The Writing Stuff
We also went to some great signings, Shenanigans in March, and Authors at the Armouries and Sugar & Spice in June. It's always amazing to talk to readers and get to know them better, and I broke some records for sales at in person events, only making me more excited for the events we've got coming over the next couple of years.
One major thing I did this year was completely overhauling my brand. Some of that was visual, moving from the dark blue to light blue, and saying goodbye to my owl in favour of flowers. This was mostly because I realised that the brand I had no longer represented what I was writing as well. It also involved some cover overhauls (more on that in a moment), and unpublishing some of my older books, including the book that turned my career around. It was a hard decision, but I knew it was the right one.
In other career highlights, I had 8 Bookbub Featured Deals (3x Paranormal Romance, 2x Supernatural Suspense, 1x Fantasy, 1x Historical Romance). I also recorded my first ever presentation for a writing conference (Marketing Wide without PPC Ads for Instalove University, starting next month).
Unsurprisingly, considering the rollercoaster that 2023 was, writing has gone very up and down for me this year, but I still wrote over 1.2 million words.
Obscure Academy had the most Bookbubs (2), and the most releases (7 main books & 2 side stories) as it firmly replaces The Paranormal Council as my flagship paranormal romance series. I'm so proud of how this series has done, I hoped people would love it, but I've been blown away by the response to it. The series also gave me somewhere to write a story I've wanted to for a long time - a romance with an ace main character, though as it turned out, Finding Answers For Confused Succubi actually has two ace leads.
The Apprentice Of Anubis continued into this year (and out into next year) with the world expanding beyond Ani's life in the London Temple and her heading to Egypt. I also wrote three side stories this year for the series, giving insights into the Temple of Ma'at, the Palace in Egypt, and the Temple of Anubis from another perspective. One of those stories, Crown Of Grief, was one of the books that helped me come to terms with my Mum passing. I always planned to write a story for Iset, though it was going to be set before her father died (which was always planned as part of the overall plot of the series), but it was going to be a different story. But because I planned for her father to die, that part of her character started to talk to me, it was while I walked Fudgestick one night. I came home and sat down and wrote while crying for about twelve hours. It needed very heavy editing, but at the end of each stage of the process, I felt a little better. The book means a lot to me, and it's fascinating to me to read through my own feelings.
I finished two series this year - Cauldron Coffee Shop and Broomstick Bakery (listed together because they're so entwined!) It's so surreal to think that I've left Willow and Azíl behind. This year, Willow became my longest running heroine with twelve books to her name (though next year, both Ani from
The Apprentice Of Anubis, and Amy from Amethyst's Wand Shop Mysteries will overtake her).
I got my first Bookbub in Historical Romance with The Fox and the Viscount this year. I hadn't expected my shifter Regency romance to be accepted in that category, and it was great seeing a series I love so much and was so much of a passion project be received so well.
Forgotten Gods has probably been my surprise of the year, especially considering it's my oldest currently on-going series. It's always ticked along, but this year it started taking on a life of its own. Though I have also put a lot into it. The two sub-series (Origins and The Queen Of Gods) were rebranded to match the main series, and The Queen Of Gods was absorbed completely into the main series. I also wrote a brand new book one for the series - Feather Of Balance. Ma'at's story was actually meant to be book 11, but it didn't feel right, and I realised that was because it should always have been book one. I'm really happy with how it turned out, and reader response has been very positive.
While I closed two series, I also started a new one - Jinx Paranormal Dating Agency. It's upbeat and fun and full of mythology from around the world. While Egyptian mythology is the one that draws me in the most, I've been finding fascinating mythology from around the world that I wanted to explore, which is how this series came about. And better yet? Ari is writing some of the books with me - she's always wanted to write about more Chinese mythology, so we decided we'd co-write those ones while I wrote most of the series myself. Maybe a bit of a complicated solution, but it suits us well!
Speaking of co-writing, we released the rather anticipated (both by us and readers!) Stacey & Gabriel standalone connected to our Amethyst's Wand Shop Mysteries series. We've known for a while that Stacey & Gabriel needed their own story and it was so much fun to write. We also wrote a side story featuring Amy and Ambrose solving a murder at one of the venues of our signings, which was really fun!
While Grimm Academy had the least releases of all my series this year (just 1 main book), a lot happened with the series. I rearranged it completely so that the books are now in chronological order instead of still split into their "original" series - now making the five sub-series into one longer series, along with completely new covers. I also finally wrote a reader magnet for the series. I've been trying to figure one out for a long time, and it finally came to me this year.
Arizona and I also continued our Purple Oasis series. I can't really put into words how we feel about this series, but it's one that just multiplies every time we write in the world. There are so many characters we want to get to know, and so many different types of magic to explore. I can't wait to see what 2024 has in store for us!
And finally, there are the shared worlds I've been part of. I've had so much fun writing in both the Speed Dating with the Denizens of the Underworld and Blackthorn Academy For Supernaturals shared worlds - including writing my first ever monster romance, Monster's Past. I can't wait to write more for both of them in 2024!
All in all, I've had a very fun writing year and I look forward to more great books in 2024!