Monday, 21 December 2020

Reflections on a plague year

Worry not, there’s no illness on my house or any of my family. In fact, the difficult year has been easy on me. Partly it’s because I live in Finland where the Covid situation has been relatively painless (there has been no lockdowns, for example, and we had a proper holiday, if isolated), and partly it’s because I’m reclusive by nature and haven’t found the restrictions on my life overly straining.

The situation has had some impact on my life, of course, though minor. I had to relinquish my study to my husband when he started working from home, as he makes a lot of conference calls and needs privacy. But the move to living room was good for me. I got a new desk, because the old one didn’t fit there, which turned out to be ergonomically better. My back pain hasn’t acted up since. And the change of scenery (a view from a different window) cheered me up. So far, spending all day, every day with my husband hasn’t put a strain on us. And as an added bonus, without a long daily commute, he’s been less tired.

However, just so working from home wouldn’t be too easy, there was a six month long fa├žade renovation in our block of flats, which was noisy to say the least and included three months spent inside a plastic tent. But it’s over now and, in hindsight, went by fairly painlessly.

Professionally, the year has been good for me. I’m still far from making a living with my writing, but for the first time in three years, I’ll end up on black. This even after extra expenses, like spending more on advertising after Amazon started adding 24% VAT on it, and purchasing a new domain name after I changed all my social media under Susanna Shore. You can read more about it here.

My biggest success this year was P.I. Tracy Hayes series of cosy mysteries. It did especially well on Amazon, whereas the Two-Natured London paranormal romance series was more popular among the readers on iBooks. Both series had a new book published this year.

In April, I published Magic on the Highland Moor, Two-Natured London 6.5. It’s a shorter, in-between romance that bridges Crimson Warrior (TNL 6) and Wolf Moon (TNL 7), with characters and storylines in common in all three. And in July, I published Tracy Hayes, Valentine of a P.I., which is book seven in the series and sees, among other things, Tracy and Jackson trying to spend a Valentine’s Day together. I also published a new bundle edition called Starters, which combines four of my first books as a sample of my writing.

I also finished writing two books that will come out next year. Wolf Moon comes out in February, and Hexing the Ex, a start of a new paranormal mystery series, will come out in June. And I wrote two other books that I haven’t had time to finish, both completely different from what I usually write. Even though they remain incompletefor nowwriting them refreshed me, so I don’t consider them waste of time.

My other writing activities include two blogs, though this one didn’t see much action the entire year. I’ve only posted four times, not including this one, mostly because I didn’t seem to have energy for it. In contrast, my reading blog has been very active. I joined NetGalley in July, a site where one can request early review copies in exchange for reviews, and I’ve tried to diligently review everything I’ve been given. It’s been fun and educational. I have twenty or so books already lined up for the next year, so that’ll continue strong. I’ve also sent three newsletters this year; not much, but at least it’s a low commitment for the subscribers. You can join here.

In addition to writing, my publishing related activities included brushing up the covers of the Two-Natured London series. I’m not technically very skilled, but I’m happy with the results. And I can always redo them when my skills have improved. I like working on book covers; it refreshes my mind when writing gets stuck. I made several other covers too, for three different series that’ll see light in two or three years’ time.

I think that sums up my year. All in all, it was pretty good and hassle free, even if it was mostly spent cooped up at home. I hope that you’ve got through the year with good health too, and that the next year will be better for us all.

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