2021 Year In Review
I gotta tell ya, 2021 started out an utter shitfest. I spent the first month writing a book that was supposed to be released with an author I was really excited to work with. It didn't get published. About that same time, I was constantly blacking out and fainting, and shivering while sitting directly in front of a space heater, wrapped in a robe and blankets. Migraines were constant and I'm pretty sure my stomach was trying to eat itself. It still does that sometimes. Stress, man.
My doctor thinks I may have had a few minor strokes, but she wasn't sure because I didn't go to the emergency room during those episodes. I can't afford the emergency room. I can barely afford a regular doctor visit. My insurance is garbage.
After much poking and prodding, the only thing discovered was that I pretty much have NO iron in my blood. Anemic to the extreme, which explained my constant freezing, dizziness, fainting, black-outs, and memory loss (Ever forget your own name? Forget where you're going before you even get out of the driveway, then a few more times on your way to your destination? That was me.) I was sent to sleep doctors and to get MRIs and CT scans. Then I ran out of money for all that so decided I'll just take the iron and other stuff I was prescribed, and forget about sleeping. Hell, I haven't slept well in a few decades anyway.
So... rough start, then came the depression and one personal catastrophe after another. I had some of the scariest, most heart-wrenching moments of my life this year, and I didn't stand a chance against the darkness doing its best to drown me. I've battled depression pretty much my whole life, even as a kid. It's always there, lurking, and when it decides to really come out and play, it's a real bitch. This was my worst year in quite some time, and from the end of January until about August, I couldn't write much at all. The more I tried, the more I ended up staring at a screen. There were times I thought that was it. I lost it. There would be nothing else from me because I sucked.
Then my lovely readers started sending me messages, asking for the next book. In all the years I have been writing, I've never had so many readers so hungry for the next book.
So I set a preorder date, opened up Peace, Love, and Fangs every day... and wrote the damn book. For my readers who brought me back.
Then I wrote the next book... in 29 days. Over 100,000 words from start to finish in 29 freaking days.
I beat the depression battle again. It'll come back. It always does, but I know now that no matter what, I can write 3000 words a day, and if I can write 3000 words a day, I can keep releasing books, and I will finally achieve my dream of writing fulltime for a living.
The year started out rough, but I have gained a lot of wonderful readers, and that co-writing opportunity I'd been so excited about the end of last year... Well, it falling through was a blessing. It wasn't for me. The Lord showed up in my darkest moment, and despite all the low points, there was a lot of good this year too.
I have my most successful series going stronger than ever.
I've had my two best new release days of all time.
I got the rights back on my contemporary romance novellas and will be relaunching them under the "Shylyn Ray" pen name in a few months (I've already lengthened one and it is SO MUCH BETTER!)
After years of struggling to get reviews and being so envious of authors who had 100 or more... I now have over 100 reviews on both Life Sucks After You Die and Vampire Girl Problems, and Suck It Sister is almost there.
I have more newsletter subscribers than ever.
I finally learned how to do Facebook and AMS ads and they are paying off.
I've had more preorders than ever (my preorders used to be so depressing).
I'm still not making enough in royalties to leave my day job and write fulltime, but I made enough to pay for car repairs and to replace two major appliances that went belly up. I even managed a weekend getaway. And I'm closer to my dream than I've ever been.
Here's to surviving 2021 and finding some good in it. Bring on 2022. I have a lot of books to write, and I can't wait to share them with all of you. :)