A LOT has happened since my last post, so I am going to break this post down into three sections.
Firstly, Jingle Bells. Wow! What a ride. Thanks to many of you who will read this, we had a successful launch of the Christmas Crackers anthology. We hit #1 New Release and Bestseller flags in its categories. For example, this happened on the first day after release in the Amazon US store:
And then this happened on the following day (5/11/20) in the Amazon Canada store:
Needless to say, it has been an amazing experience especially for a newbie writer such as myself... to be honest though, I do feel like I have been VERY lucky to have been working with well-established authors with amazing fans.
I wasn't able to keep up with all the ins and outs of publishing and marketing due to end of semester academic duties, and lots and lots of marking of papers. I did find myself getting distracted at times and it would be easy to keep refreshing the Amazon pages all day if you had the time. I have learned that I have SO much to learn about the whole process!
The biggest thrill for me has been receiving subscribers to my Newsletter, and emails telling me how much they enjoyed the story and/or characters, and how they were looking forward to the next book!
Not long after the excitement of my first book launch, I made the decision to retire. I invest a lot of time and energy in my teaching. You can never work 9-5, five days a week during semester time, as there is always so much to prepare, present, and keep up with. Consequently, I would spend way too many hours sitting at my desk and it always spills over to the weekends too. Although I somehow managed to squeeze Jingle Bells in (I really don't know how), you cannot keep this up forever, and my health and wellbeing has certainly taken a back seat for too many years.
Today is the first day of my retirement! I went for a two-hour walk with the grandchildren this morning (picture below), wrote a Newsletter and sent that out to my subscribers, and have written this post in between some quiet moments of reflection. I am very fortunate to be in a position to retire, although I will have to watch every dollar from now on. Of course, the plus side of retiring is that I will now have more time (and energy) to write :-). This thrills me no end. I wrote many stories as a young girl/teenager but then got distracted with work and married life. I am so happy to now come back and fulfil some of those earlier dreams.
Which brings me to my third and final section. My personal and professional life has been filled with lifelong learning. I have three degrees, a Masters, and a PhD :-). I am a curious person who loves learning. I have changed careers a couple of times although I have always been a teacher in some capacity. I love helping others reach their goals and fulfil their dreams, which enabled me to reach and fulfil mine. I am sure this will be translated over to my characters.
I may have retired and left academia behind me, but in actuality, I don't think a lot will change on that front. I have already spent many hours researching how I am going to build on Jingle Bells and build my author career. I have already broadly planned out two further books with Christy and co. I have the titles of the next books and have received the book covers to match. I can't wait to tell you more about what is in store for Christy, Holly, Aunt Meg, Tinz, and Maisie as their adventures continue. Although I will share more on this soon, I fear that while I have escaped the frying pan, I have jumped and landed in the fire!!!
I have a lot of ideas sloshing around in my skull and I will continue to mull on them over the next couple of weeks in between some much-needed housework and exercise. Because it is summer here in Tasmania (down under Down Under), the grandchildren are now home until early February and will keep my honest in my efforts to get out of the house every day.
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you stay healthy with either a lot of sunscreen or warm and fluffy socks. Of course, there will be a book in reach on one side, and quite possibly a furry or hairy friend on the other. We are extraordinary beings, us humans, and as you focus on what is most important to you, I wish you good health, happiness, and the closest connection you can achieve with family and friends at this time.