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A 2018 Writing Recap, and 2019 Goals

I didn’t think I was going to write one of these posts. Mainly because I’m in limbo at the moment. I’m out on submission with my next book, and honestly, no one ever seems to talk about that experience. They just appear with book deals and great news, but you very rarely find another writer saying ‘actually lads, I’m dying out here and am waiting to hear if anyone thinks I’m worth anything, or everyone thinks I’m shit.’

Well, I’m not going to be that person. Not yet, anyway. Things are in flux, and I’m in the middle of it all, but be assured I’ll let you know if I’m either worth anything or shit. Promise.

So, for the moment, my 2019 goals feel a bit like they are no longer my responsibility (wrong!) but that’s no reason I can’t have a look back on 2018. Because I honestly forgot how much I did.

Two publications

I had two books out with Canelo last year – in February Prosecco and Promises came out, and this was honestly my heart story for the longest time. I dreamed it up years ago and was so pleased with the love and care of my editor and how Mia’s story ended up. (I was also thrilled that I got to do a research trip in 2017).

In the summer, Martinis and Memories came out, and this was a story that didn’t end up where I thought it would. The lovely, sassy, strong owner of The Martini Club helped me bring the series to a close, and as always it was a love letter to London. And the Espresso Martini.

New covers

The series got a cover relaunch when Martinis and Memories came out, and honestly they look so beautiful and classy and I love them so much!

The Martini Club series (new covers with gaps)

An Audio Book

Prosecco and Promises was an audiobook on BookChoice.

Talks

Publishing, panicking and too much Prosecco – I gave a talk at Bexley Literature Festival
Waterstones Watford Prosecco and Promises where I chatted to another writer and hopefully helped!
WI meeting in Hertfordshire on writing books and publishing.
Presented on my msc research in therapeutic writing at the Eating Disorders International Conference

Reading

I read some amazing books this year (and I’m going to endeavour to review on my site, or at least post on my socials as well as reviewing on Amazon etc) and as always, it’s a thrill when it’s super impressive people I know.

This year I loved:
Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp – Sarra Maning
The Language of Spells – Sarah Painter
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
The Happiness List – Annie Lyons
The Fear – C L Taylor
You Had Me at Merlot – Lisa Dickenson
Small Great Things – Jodi Piccoult

A new book

I’ve been working on a book that I’m super in love with, and it feels like it’s been in my heart for a long time. I remember the moment of the first idea and when it nuzzled against my brain, and it was in a different form many years ago.

I hold out hope I’ll be able to share it with you all soon.

I also wrote a thriller, which will be sacrificed for parts, because some of it worked, but in the end, as much as I’m moving into different genres, and thrillers are my favourite to read, I haven’t quite got the stomach for it! It was originally a romance, it twisted into something twisted, and now in 2019 it’ll have settled for something in the middle – heartfelt but complicated, like most people.

Other fun stuff

I had a bunch of adventures in 2018! I went snowboarding in Slovenia and fell in love – Ljubliana is one of the most beautiful, friendly, wonderful places I’ve ever been and I recommend it to anyone. I also got better at snowboarding, which was a relief, as I’m not good at being consistently bad at things I enjoy.

I had a trip with my girls to Margate, which was super fun, I completed an intense fitness regime, and I saw some dear friends from America when we went to a few wonderful weddings this year. It’s been a year of love and wonder. At the end of 2018, I turned 30 in New York City, the day after my partner proposed. So it’s been quite the whirlwind year!

2019 writing goals

I can’t really say what I want to happen with my books, because at the moment it’s out of my hands, but I can tell you I’m about to start working on another project right now, and I’m getting excited!

This one I started working on when I was a writer in residence around 6 years ago, and I wasn’t emotionally ready to write it. I’m pretty sure I am now, and there’s a joy in getting round to the story that was waiting for you to reach it.

In 2019 I’d like to start using some of my marketing skills from my day job to promote my books (but really, doing it all day then coming home to do it, who am I kidding?) and I think I’m ready to return to my msc research.

I stepped back from my writing for therapy work in 2018. I briefly presented at the EDIC, and spoke to some students on the masters course, but honestly, I was overwhelmed. I’d spent so many years trying to do the research and ensuring it was perfect, and my own anxiety and panic this year wasn’t conducive to being fully present as a facilitator.

But I’d really like to do something with my research, whether that’s as a booklet or guide, a series of videos, or a few sessions for people. Writing for therapy is such a joy, and it works. I need to do more of that for myself too.

I’ll be hoping to take a UK trip for research for this new book (nope, I’m not saying where) but otherwise, I’m saving for a wedding in 2020, so hiding away in my writer’s hole, and taking my notebook down to the allotment to untangle plotpoints sounds good to me.

All of my royalties are going towards having the kind of wedding my heroines would be proud of (unconventional and sassy) so if you do want to buy one of my books in 2019, that’s what you’ll be paying for. Which is pretty appropriate for a rom com writer, right?

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