Saturday 23 December 2023

Ending 2023, starting 2024 (Still here)

Happy Solstice, everyone. I just re-read my preview blog post and ... well, life can change a lot in 6 months.


2023 was a year of career transition. Trying out various paths after the old one ended abruptly, seeing what makes me happy, what gives me satisfaction (outside writing). I tried translator, I tried a new start in a new industry (media) ... and then "fate" intervened.

Backing up. In June, I was contacted by a headhunter for a great full-time job at a market-leading company with a fearsome reputation. The money was so good (and the headhunter made a convincing case that the, ahem, "cultural factors" I was worried about had changed) that I went into the process. This would then drag on for two months (and multiple interviews/tests) as the recruiting manager/s couldn't make up their mind which one of the two final applicants they wanted. In the end, I lost out against somebody with more experience.

Fast forward a few months. Same company, different team needs to urgently replace an editor who's going off on parental leave for 7 months. Apparently I'd impressed some people enough that they referred their colleagues to me. Two 20-minute phone calls with a colleague and my future manager later, and I got the job. Being asked on Wednesday, "So can you come to work on Monday?" was ... something. My then-employer was nice and released me earlier, so the whole thing took 10 days and everything changed.

Pay. Schedule. Industry. Team. Job.

At that point, I'd resolved I'm just going to be a sword for hire - take short gigs for whoever pays me the most as I make my way toward retirement. I thought I had all sense of loyalty or connection beaten out of me during my career.

That worked for a like 2 weeks, but the company is so impressive - and the management and team so refreshingly non-toxic - I wouldn't mind going permanent with them if they want me. They certainly can use the help, even after the parent comes back from leave. Anyway, I'm now in a place where I'd be fine with both outcomes: getting made permanent would have a very large impact on my finances, but if I leave after serving out my contract, I'll walk away with a smile and many good memories. Plus, that name on my CV means I'll find some other well-paid mercenary gig easily.

So what else did I do in 2023? I travelled to Germany and France. Made new friends and reconnected with old ones. Finished a book and wrote another one. Improved my health, lowered my stress levels. I'm back to lifting weights and generally more active than I was. I donated a ton of clutter to charity shops. I trimmed down my book collection to the point where there are actual gaps on the shelves. More needs to go. I reorganized my study/office - got rid of some furniture and now have a lot more space. I set pretty healthy boundaries in my personal life (painful, but necessary). I quit my RPG group because of incompatible styles (it's always important to work out what people want out of their games, and if you don't have enough common ground, it's easier for everybody if the group dissolves or switches out the incompatible player/s). I reached a major financial milestone thanks to the mercenary gig. I translated books. Joined a local RPG club. I generally had a great time at interviews and jobs and in a professional environment. This was the year I learned that a day job can actually be 100% fun and engaging. I had some good weeks in journalism way back when, but this is a whole 'nother level.

For 2024, the job situation is wide open. I'm also working on some health and well-being stuff that will take a few months to sort out.


I started edits on the book I wrote in 2022, and I'm 95% done with the sequel that also needs editing. I'd hoped to finish the book while in France, but turned out it was longer than expected. Both these books are pretty chunky m/m novels (romances, sure), and I originally planned to have them out before the end of the year. That's not going to happen, so I'm now aiming for mid-2024.

I did plot out the fantasy novels, I have a world, and several important characters. Beating all of that into shape is definitely a 2024 task.

I'm also pondering my overall strategy - and might go "wide" again next year. I've always had issues with Kindle Unlimited, so being exclusive with them doesn't sit right with me. 

I have plenty of ideas for books and characters and hope to get something into publishable shape soon. I mean, stuff I write in the day job is (theoretically) being read by hundreds of thousands of people who pay a lot of money for that content, so my ego got a little boost from that. I also think those two novels are pretty good. I recently met Jordan in London and we've been talking about plans for the Witches series. There are at least two more books there. 

At some point I'll also have to do the layouts and do print versions. Forgive me, it's a really tedious job and relatively low priority, but I do hope to get to it in 2024. I prefer print books too, after all.

I also want to translate most of my English books into German. I will translate the books of some friends. And I think that's plenty on my plate right now.

TL; DNR: The promised m/m books are late, but will be out in 2024, plus likely a fantasy novel or two. 

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