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Happy New Year!

I've spent some of today reflecting on what I've done this year and honestly, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I had no idea how much I'd accomplished. I live in England. We're not supposed to crow about our accomplishments here. We're supposed to be as stoic in our successes as we are in our failures.

I didn't do an end of year report for last year. But I'm trying to change a few things about myself with the intent of, as William Thatcher put it in A Knight's Tale, changing my stars. So here I go, here's me crowing, because I had a good year!

I am utterly stunned.

It's one thing to name the books I published this year and quite another to make a graphic and see them all represented. I wrote over half a million words this year; I'm exhausted just thinking about it and that's not including some of the things that didn't make it into the final books. For example, there's a bonus prologue for The Runaway's Escape I'm planning on dropping into the members only area next year, along with a chapter from Drexan Thalos's point of view which I deleted.

And then there's Angry Survivor. Angry Survivor has been my nemesis this year, but I'm going to get it out in 2022 if it kills me.

Things I tried and failed in 2021.

One glaring and obvious failing is writing standalone books in a series. I have an overarching story, but Warriors is meant to be more standalone then Renegades was and more than Rulers is going to be, but I failed. I wrote that on Amazon before I wrote the books and then couldn't do it, my brain just doesn't work that way.

I want to say Klevian Warriors will be more standalone, but nah, that's not going to happen. At least that's a closed circuit series of five books.

Okay... So, my plans for 2022.

I've mentioned in previous newsletters that I'm slowing down my publishing pace. This year was amazing, but I spent a lot of it feeling like I didn't have the time to really edit my books. I constantly felt like it was spinning plates and I'm not good at stuff like that.

I need to write a lot this year. That may sound counterintuitive, but, if I write a lot, I can write this years books and next years books which means I'll have the mental distance for editing. Before embarking on this self-publishing journey, I would put a book down for at least a month before I started editing it. I haven't had the time to do that since I edited The Smuggler's Radiant.

Writing is mentally and physically draining but editing is even worse. Seriously, editing is so much harder than writing. Writing is a journey of discovery in which I get to know my characters, my story unfolds slowly over the course of around a month and I really enjoy that journey, but it's tiring. Going straight into editing means I have zero time to recover and editing itself is reading the book over and over and over and over to catch mistakes. Now, I already do this. I edit at the end of each writing day. I read the book after, taking notes and making changes as I go. I then listen to the book, with the text to speech facility in word. Then it goes to my critique partner who edits as she goes. Then to my alpha readers so they can evaluate the story, but half the time one of them edits as well. Then I edit it again, catching inconsistencies. Then my editor gets it. Then I edit it again at least twice and then my beta readers get it and they always point out errors as well.

I am the primary editor and at the end of the day, when there are errors in the book when it goes live, that's my responsibility. Personally, I think the tenacious little fuckers have earned their place, but it's still my responsibility. I want to have time and the mental space to look at it again with fresh eyes and building up a backlog will help me to do that, so that's the priority this year. If I can write all of 2022 and 2023's books, then when I go into 2023, I only have to write 2024's books. I have more time, more space to ensure each book is the best version it can be. It also means I have time for other projects which I would like to pursue and have been patiently waiting in the back for me to gain the time, I seem to be losing instead.

So, on that note, here is the publishing schedule for this year.

Novels Release dates Series

The Crime Lord’s Fall February 8th Warriors

Tacori- The full novel June 1st Klevian Warriors

The Pack’s Bride September 1st Rulers

Galidin December 1st Klevian Warriors

I also plan to have the prequel novella for Rulers out shortly. Lindsay, my editor, is booked to edit it on January 15th. Once it's back and I've gone through the final edits, I'm going to throw it up on the members only section for a week before I add it to BookFunnel and start giving it away. It also goes up for sale on April 1st on Amazon. The book is called The Sotul's Disgrace and oh dear! I'm 18k words into it and so far Perim and Kate can't stand each other. I have a feeling my 25k word plan is a little optimistic, and It'll probably end up being more around the 30k mark. Perim is the arrogant leader of the Koldar people who believe they are the superior life form in the entire universe and Kate is a Derbyshire lass from England with a bolshy attitude who won't take his attitude sitting down. Yesterday she told him she wanted to punch him! I love her!

Blog wise I'm working on getting the members only area up and running at a basic level. I've added a 'Members Only Home Page' to your log in menu so that's you can always find it. There are two links on that home page. One is to the Epilogue of The Runaway's Escape and the other is to a forum where I'm updating changes I make so that you can find them easily if you want to know what I've changed.

I'm planning to simplify the website. This will include getting rid of the background images, which while pretty, are an uploading nightmare for anyone with an older computer.

To the Members Only Area, I'll be adding a Bonus Content menu page where you'll be able to find never before read content including the two unfinished original versions of The Mercenary's Dawn. I also have a series I tried to write and gave up on called Tithes of Earth, that was set in the modern day where Earth is forced to give 50,000 people a year to aliens or be invaded. Obviously, the 50k men kidnapped thing made it's way into Renegades with the Protectorate males. I have the first unfinished book which was all from the heroine's point of view, so I might drop that on there and you guys can assess whether or not I should go back to it at some point!

That's all of the book updates. From here, I'm getting a little personal, so feel free to shut the page down and get on with your day. Thank you for reading the tome above.

Right, for those of you staying, my other priority is self-care.

This year has been really weird for me. I'm an introvert. Some people think that means we're anti-social; not at all; I love people and I love being out. The thing about being an introvert is that it means being out of the house has an energy cost. For extroverts, they get energy from being out and being around people but it's the exact opposite for introverts. Think of it like the energy bar over a character in a video game. Everything you do takes energy until the bar is empty and the only place to recharge is home.

That was so true for working for other people, it was hard. Having a full-time job for me meant I had no energy when I got home to think, let alone create. It also caused anxiety and depression. The longer I was in any job, warehouses, factories, offices, it didn't matter, the harder it would get because one of my primary forms of balancing my mind is writing and I didn't have the energy to do that. My work would suffer, my relationships would suffer and eventually I'd crash into a massive depression, with the last one being the worst.

Since I started writing, it's been a complete reversal. Now, I sit in the office most of each day doing what I love. It's hard and I'm really tired, but I love it and I'd rather be tired doing this than anything else. I've also thrived in working for myself and honestly, become a bit of a workaholic, which is why I'm prioritising self-care in 2022. I don't want to burn out.

So, this year I'm going to leave the office earlier, spend more time with my husband and cats and lose weight so that I'm here for longer, with my husband, with my cats and with you, writing these stories and getting to enjoy your reactions to them.

Writing causes a sedentary lifestyle. I sit down for 95% of each day, if not more. It's effecting my energy levels, my heart, my health, everything. So I've started calorie counting with a Clever Fox planner, logging my food in the Chronometer app and I've created a workout schedule of stepping and Pilates, which I used to do 20 years ago and got out of the habit. Time to bring that habit back. I'm also going back to meditating each morning for my mental health. This is my year to rediscover what a healthy relationship with my body looks like and aim towards that as my goal.

I think this is the first time I've ever entered a year with clear goals and the plans and will to achieve them. It's terrifying, as well as exhausting, hence building my energy levels up with exercise and weight loss! XD

If you managed to get through this free thought and bragging exercise, well bloody done! Leave a comment to let me know. Also, let me know your plans for 2022. Obviously 2020 and 2021 robbed us, kicked the shit out of us and left us unconscious in a back alley behind Dominos Pizza! Do you think it's going to be more of the same this year? Better? Worse? Do you have plans to maintain your own mental and physical health? Let me know.

Anyway, with all of that said, have a brilliant New Year and I'll see you in 2022.

Lucy. <3

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