2021 in Review

This has been an absolutely WILD year. And with the passing of Betty White earlier today, I’m more than ready for it to be over.

When the year started, I had no idea where it would end up. I had recently shelved the WIP I’d been working on for the last six months of 2020 and was just starting to get the itch to write a story about a sex worker named Dorian. I didn’t know much of anything about him, just that he was a gay femme Dom. That was it.

Now, 12 months later, I’m a published author with over 500 sales. The Orchid and the Lion is getting amazing reviews. I have fans. (I’m just as shocked as you all are.) It’s honestly a little overwhelming seeing the response Dorian and Laith’s story has gotten.

___

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about data. No one wants to hear exact numbers of books sold or anything like that. At least, I know I don’t. I want to talk more about the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met along the way.

This website, for example, is actually a do-over. I had had another one through a different host, and never really felt attached to it. So I moved over here and started trying some new things. NaNoWriMo (which I’ll talk about, too) and trying to write book two through December kind of put the kibosh on this blog for a bit, but I will be back at it in the new year.

Meeting my critique partner, Lorraen, was one of the best things that could have happened to me. This glorious human being dipped into my DMs after I had been sitting on my finished first draft for a few months and asked to swap chapters with me. She helped me create a final product that I could be proud of (and that other people would want to read LOL).

But there were other people as well–far too many, really, to name here–that I also met (this year and last) who helped me in my journey this year. People like Kon Blacke, who created the incredible cover for my novel.

People like Lysander (left) and Rune Rivers (right), who created the first (and so far only) fanart of my characters.

People like Normandy Fox, who did an incredible commission of Dorian and Laith for me (and another for Laith and another character that I’ll share after The Lion and the Dahlia gets published).

But also beta readers. And fellow authors or readers who gave advice or suggestions or just helped promote my work. Andrew Slinde, who is not only a beta but also an editing client and an amazing writer; Elana McDougall, who was also my first author interview on this blog; L.R. Evans, who ran a Discord server for a small group of us during NaNoWriMo; the entirety of the #WRITEboyslove community. Just dozens and dozens of people who I now consider my family and who I couldn’t do this without.

Winning NaNoWriMo for the first time this year was a HELL of an experience. I dropped blogging, reading, and sleeping to try and write the sequel to The Orchid and the Lion, but it’s the end of December, and I’m still struggling with this book. My hope is to be able to release it on April 26th of 2022, but we’ll see! Got a nice little certificate for writing over 80,000 words in November, though. LOL

I was also interviewed for two separate podcasts, and have a third interview coming in the new year. The first was with The Picky Bookworm and can be heard here. (It also lead to the two of us planning an Alias podcast that should start recording soon!) The second was with Ruan Willow and will be available soon. The third hasn’t been scheduled yet, but we’re getting there. 🙂 Both of those experiences were something I NEVER expected to happen, but that I had a blast doing.

I’ve done interviews for other people’s websites (thanks Kon and Feed My Reads!), I had my book reviewed on a blog (thank you, Denise, for also naming The Orchid and the Lion to your top books of the year list!), and I’m even going to be launching a Patreon in the new year.

I’ve also started an editing business, and I’ve been really fortunate to work with some amazing people: Matt Mason, for whom I’ve edited a couple of delightful spooky stories; Elle Porter, whose gorgeous story “Hyacinth” I had the honor to work on; Rue Sparks‘ amazing serialized “Dragon Warden;” Lysander (whose work isn’t published yet, as far as I know?); Andrew Slinde’s 4th novel that I linked above; Kon Blacke’s Warmth from the Rising Sun (currently available for preorder). If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry!

When I first self-published my novel in October, I couldn’t have guessed that at the end of this terrible year, I’d be able to say that I had found even a little success. I know I try to be humble, especially given that I know there are far more successful indie writers out there, but I can’t express how fucking proud I am of what I’ve accomplished in so little time.

And I’m excited to see what the new year brings (I swear to gods, please tell me I didn’t jinx myself saying that).

-Gabe

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