Back in January 2016, I set out my goals for the year – the first time I’d ever done so in public. You can read the post here. So how did I do? Seeing as I didn’t actually check my goals after March (for shame!), actually not too badly. 2016 was the year I ramped up my production of books, so come with me as I look back on my goals for 2016 and see what happened along the way…
On this goal, I smashed it out of the park. Following on from writing All I Want For Christmas, I successfully completed four further novellas in the continuing adventures of Tori & Holly: All I Want For Valentine’s, All I Want For Spring, All I Want For Summer and All I Want For Autumn. Phew!
I won’t lie – the speed of the series was challenging to write at times, but I loved the process of following a couple on the first two years of their relationship, and the ups and downs that everyone faces. And honestly, I will miss Tori & Holly, but I’m also excited to start new books.
The final instalment – a full-length novel, All I Want Forever – is due out at the end of January, and I hope it gives a satisfactory ending to the lives of London’s favourite lesbian couple. A fond farewell to the loveable duo.
9. Stand up, Jig About.
Epic fail on this one, but I won’t be too hard on myself because writing is a sedentary occupation – especially if you did as much of it as I did in 2016! However, I plan to do better this year, and it’ll feature again in my upcoming 2017 goals blog, with an actual number weight-wise to aim for. Gulp.
I didn’t do this one, but that’s mainly because I decided to finish the All I Want series first, based on reader feedback and what was bursting to get out of my head. So I’m at peace that I didn’t meet this goal. But rest assured London series fans – it’s the next book in the queue for 2017 and it’s going to be a brilliant follow-on from London Calling and This London Love.
7. Walk To More Pubs
This was an odd goal to set, but I achieved it. My wife and I walked to restaurants and bars a fair bit in 2016, so I’m calling this a win! Plus, getting some exercise before having a pie and a pint? That’s progress.
6. Continue The Lesbian Bookclub Podcast
Definite win! I really love doing the Lesbian Bookclub Podcast because I get to speak to authors old and new, learn things along the way and make new friends. I did a podcast every month in 2016 and even did a 2016 Year-End Wrap-Up, which was a lot of fun! I have guests aplenty lined up for 2017, and you can check out the old podcasts here.
5. Embrace My Guitar
Definite fail. It’s still in the corner, gently weeping.
I skewed this goal a little, instead expanding a short story I wrote back in 2014 into a novella and giving it away for free when you sign up to my mailing list. So I think I almost achieved this goal – and I couldn’t be prouder of It Had To Be You. My wife reckons it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and it’s certainly up there. Also, the book was included on The Lesbian Review’s Best Books of 2016 – again, completely unexpected and just plain brill. If you don’t have a copy yet, grab it for free here!
3. Watch All Of The Sport
Score! 2016 involved the Rio Olympics and the European Football Championship, both of which I loved watching. There was also the spectacle of Spurs oh-so-nearly winning the league, but then being Spursy at the final hurdle. I should have known. Still, it was lovely to dream.
2. Read Some Poetry.
Fail. I’m going to schedule it in 2017.
I had the idea for Nothing To Lose after reading about the devastating floods in York over Christmas 2015, and I was itching to write the story. And what a blockbuster it turned into, reaching No.1 in the UK, Australia and Canada, and hitting No. 3 in the USA. It’s now my most successful book out of the blocks, selling more than any other in its first six months of life – and I couldn’t be more pleased. I put my heart and soul into writing that book, and I’m glad it came across to readers. What’s more, it was named as a Runner-Up in the Rainbow Awards 2016 Best Contemporary Romance – something I’m very proud of!
Overall, 2016 was a terrific year for me – my first as a full-time author, which meant I had more time to produce books and promote them. I was also really thrilled that All I Want For Christmas gained a new set of fans thanks to a Bookbub sale, as well as Christmas coming around again and terrific support from the community. All in all, despite the political upheaval in the world, 2016 was definitely my Best Year Yet. But you know what? I’m hoping that 2017 eclipses it. I’ll be back with my goals for this year very soon!