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This Time Last Year…

690756_sydney_nye_2007_1NOTIFYFIRSTHappy new year! I just love January 1st and the feeling of a fresh start, and today is even more exciting… This very day one year ago I started writing a new story. I opened a word document, began typing, and before I knew it three chapters had been written. This story was FAST FORWARD. Now, one year later, it is not only finished but about to be published with Harlequin’s Escape Publishing. My first published book. The scheduled release date is February 1st 2013 and I cannot wait! So if you’ve been thinking of writing a novel, or have an idea for a new one – get writing! You never know, this time next year you could be celebrating a publishing contract. 🙂

So much can happen in a year. I think it’s nice to take a look back and celebrate progress, achievements, and good times…

In terms of writing, in 2012 I… edited a manuscript, did extensive revisions on another manuscript (which I’m still revising), wrote FAST FORWARD, wrote my first novella STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE, wrote and self-published a short story SISTERS AT HEART, started writing my next romantic comedy HAUNTED HOUSEWIVES, received my first publishing contract, and made the finals in Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for an Australian Star contest with my manuscript THE JANUARY WISH. The events I attended were the ARRA awards dinner in Sydney and the RWA annual conference on the Gold Coast. I connected with a wonderful critique partner who is now a dear friend, and formed an online writing goals group. I also spent way too much time on Facebook and Twitter but we won’t go into that.

Out of all that, the only things I’d planned for at the start of the year were to complete Fast Forward and attend the RWA conference. Everything else ‘just happened’. My main goal for 2012 was to get a contract for one of my books, and I still smile when I think about how that goal came true. 🙂

So what’s the plan for 2013?? I’m still working that out, but I’d like to increase the amount of time I spend writing (or at least, write faster), and at a minimum, complete two full length books. Because I tend to shoot for the stars I’d also like to write another one or two novellas (the next one in my ‘Love Angel’ series to follow Starstruck in Seattle, and a brand new stand-alone one called ‘I Dream of Johnny’), complete a rough (or clean, whatever) draft of the first book in my young adult series The Delta Girls, and write a short story for a Christmas anthology I’ve agreed to participate in. I’d also like to find a way to survive without sleep.

Will I achieve all that? Who knows, but it’s worth a shot! I think the main thing is to keep moving forward, keep learning about writing and publishing, and keep getting those words down. Progress is an achievement in itself.

As for my blog, wordpress has created an annual report for me and I’ll share some of the stats with you:

  • May was my busiest month which coincided with my first ‘themed month’ on the blog; Mouthwatering May.
  • The busiest day was May 27th and the post on that day was Sunday Lunch with Jenn J McLeod.
  • The top five posts that received the most views throughout 2012 were:

1. How to choose a pen name / pseudonym

2. Setting the scene – bringing the story to life through a sense of place

3. Anita Heiss answers Juliet’s Awkward Questions

4. How to use the new Facebook page timeline & How to run a Facebook chat

5. Survey results – what do you like to see on author blogs?

  • I had visitors from 110 different countries! Most of my visitors came from Australia, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Most visitors were referred to my blog via Facebook, twitter, my website, Google reader, and Survey Monkey.
  • The most popular words/phrases people typed into a search engine to end up at my blog were:

1. List of awkward questions

2. How to choose a pen name

3. Juliet Madison

4. How to come up with a pen name

5. How to set the scene in a story

  • The most interesting, unique, weird, funny, or non-relevant things people typed into a search engine which led them to my blog were: Little Miss Bossy (me?), plastic surgery Florida (not a chance), luxury hotel foyer, where is Sticklepond (I don’t know, I wonder if they found out?), chatterbox characters, I work at the post office, It was a dark and stormy night (how original), in bed with Juliet (umm…), extreme sport reading (that’s my kind of extreme sport!), Santa Claus hat cookie, and starting fresh.
  • The top five people who left the most comments on my blog (and are now my new best friends) were:

1. Rachael Johns (who has a new book out today in Aus/NZ, Man Drought – check it out!)

2. Jenn J McLeod (whose debut novel, House For All Seasons releases March 1st.)

3. Juliana (any person whose name starts with Juli has to be awesome ;))

4. Rebecca Raisin (a talented writer and winner of short story awards!)

5. Imelda Evans (whose novel, Rules Are For Breaking was released recently)

Thanks guys! And congrats to Rachael for coming first (it was a close one, Jenn) 🙂

What’s in store for my blog in 2013? Lots of author interviews, including my new segment ‘Past, Present, and Future’, posts about writing, reading, life, publishing, and marketing for authors. And I’m sure there’ll be more competitions! Speaking of competitions, I’m giving away some goodies each week until the day of my book release, but exclusively to subscribers of my email newsletter. To subscribe, head over to my website and fill in the subscription form (you’ll also get my free Triple Treat with two short stories and an e-guide for living a life you love).

So that’s it for this New Year’s Day post. Here’s to an awesome, exciting, magical, spellbinding, successful, prosperous, entertaining, happy, fulfilling (and various other adjectives) new year!!

~ Juliet xo