inspirational

Reflecting on 2020 — a year of love and monsters

Reflecting on 2020 — a year of love and monsters

And here we are: at the end of 2020.

What a year this has been.

When I wrote the blog post in which I looked back at 2019 last year, I finished the article saying how excited I was for 2020 and that it would be a year full of new releases and adventures.

How right I was.

Okay, things didn’t go exactly as I’d thought — this year has been weird, to say the least, and yet, in a way, it went so much better than I could have expected or dreamed ❤️

Shall we dive in?

 

• January: Editing & Exploring the Insomnia Saga … & Yoga

Ah, January. When all was still normal. You still remember what it was like?

All right, all drama aside, this was a busy month that — when I think back on it now — actually passed me by in a rush. The holidays were over, and so it was time to get back to work. My editing-fairies and I worked on the final round of revisions for INSOMNIA‘s manuscript.

Meanwhile, I wrote a third short story for The Insomnia Files, in which I brought Alain Somnus and his friends to life; I absolutely loved working on this; diving deeper into the history of the Insomnia Saga, fleshing out the world-building… It was fun!

Also, ideas for a certain story regarding monsters and a girl named Kiss began to grow…

Apart from writing, I had also decided I wanted 2020 to be a year in which I changed my way of living, my view on life, my daily habits, etc., which is why — for the first time ever since I picked up yoga in 2014 — I had signed up for Yoga With Adriene‘s 30 day yoga journey of January on YouTube. I’m still glad I did that, because I can still tell I have learned things from that month that still serve me now 🙂 It also helped me become even more focused, which only improved my working-speed.

 


• February: INSOMNIA & KISSING MONSTERS

In February I was finally able to release INSOMNIA, the first book in the Insomnia Saga, and the launch of my English/international writing career. The day of release was something I had been looking forward to for months, and it was absolutely amazing, as I got some very supportive messages from both readers and fellow writers who were just as excited to meet Jodi and Kay — or to reunite with them, as some of them had also read the Dutch edition published in 2018.

That was February 11th. On February 14th, however, I released a second book, a novella this time — and a rather romantic one at that 😉

 

 

I’d begun working on the KISSING MONSTERS manuscript at the start of February, amidst the preparations for INSOMNIA‘s release, and it was a bit of a race against the clock to get it finished and properly edited before Valentine’s Day… but I made it (only because it’s a short read, really) and I honestly had a hard time deciding on which book release I was proudest that week 😀

With writing KISSING MONSTERS, however, I suddenly discovered a deep love for writing romance… and I was intrigued.

During the final weeks of February, I wrote The Nocturne Files, the second Insomnia Saga short story collection to be released later that year, all the while thinking of other stories I could write… You know. More romantic ones.

 


• March: Enter the Madness

And then came March.

During the months before we’d all heard the news about this virus spreading in distant countries, but within mere weeks it came closer and then arrived at everybody’s doorstep.

What. The. Hell.

The Netherlands (where I live) went into lockdown and so did many other countries, and everybody, all over the world, was anxious or angry or lost. Suddenly the world was forced to slow down, suddenly the streets were eerily silent, and everybody was waiting for it to be over. During the first week, I must admit I struggled with a bit of anxiety as well, having a hard time focusing on my work and feeling like I’d just entered a parallel universe… or the set of some kind of failed zombie movie.

Luckily I had decided to write a sequel to KISSING MONSTERS, entitled KISSING SHADOWS, which kind of pulled me through the weirdness, and, in the end, helped distracting me. Maybe it’s strange, but my inspiration kept on flowing, and before I knew it, I’d decided to turn the Kissing Monsters books into an entire series, deciding to focus on creativity instead of the virus, and make the best of my brand new quarantine life.

 


• April: The Insomnia Files & Writing ORIGINS & new daily life routines

I slowly became aware of the fact that the virus was here to stay, so I kept focusing on my work and published The Insomnia Files, the first short story collection within the Insomnia Saga and also my very first short story collection in general, which felt pretty awesome 😉

My writing flow still knew no limits, and so I began working on ORIGINS (Insomnia Saga 3) — and whoa, writing that manuscript was a rush. My working speed was off the charts, especially because my focus was almost inhuman (no, really) AND I found a new writing technique which I’ve been using ever since: I stopped rereading every single chapter I’d written. I simply wrote on and on, until a part of the book was finished, and only then did I backtrack and quick-edit the chapters, after which I swiftly moved on.

I swear, it felt like magic.

Next to that, I also made some changes to my daily life. As I couldn’t go out for my runs anymore (which was a bummer, but hey, I’d rather keep my family and myself healthy and virus-free, thank you very much), I began working out at home on a pretty strict schedule. I’d already been doing at home fitness workouts for years, but only in the evenings, and now I started doing them in the mornings too, to make up for the runs I was missing out on. Funny thing is, I almost started to feel healthier than I did before 😛

 


• May: Finished ORIGINS & Still the Inspiration Did Not Stop

I felt like I was half-possessed, or something. Not being able to go out gave me so much more time to write and so much less distraction, that I just threw myself on my writing. So even after I finished the manuscript of ORIGINS, I barely stopped to take a break but instead started writing plot outlines for various projects…

 


• June: NOCTURNE & back to the world of Kiss and Zane

In fact, at the start of June I had written 4 (FOUR) plot outlines for different projects; The Origins Files, the third Kissing Monsters book, and two entirely other and unrelated book series.

At the end of the month, I was excited for the release of NOCTURNE, the second full-length installment of the Insomnia Saga; I had done so many attempts at writing this book (also in Dutch in 2018), that I was actually relieved to finally see it hit the (digital) book shelves 😉

During the last week — during a heatwave, I might add! — I wrote KISSING SCARLET (Kissing Monsters 3) while editing book 2 for its release in August; finally, the Kissing Monsters series was on its way to publication…

 


• July: Summer holidays… relaxation? Explain that to my mind

Usually, it’s my “ritual”, so to speak, to take July and August off from work, to catch my breath and recharge.

The thing is, however, despite all the work I’d already done the months before, I didn’t feel like I needed a break at all. I just wanted to keep on going… which is what I did, although at a slower pace because I allowed myself more time to read and play video games. In July I outlined and then wrote KISSING GHOSTS, the fourth Kissing Monsters book… and by the end of the month, I was already working on the plot outline for book 5. Honestly. I was unstoppable.

And it actually felt pretty awesome.

 


• August: KISSING SHADOWS & A Spiritual Heatwave (for real)

Although still willing to go on and keep the flow going, in August I was forced to slow down when a pretty intense heatwave wrapped almost the whole of Europe in a suffocating hug. (Huh. That’s a poetic way of putting it.)

I’m not sure, I think it went on for over a week? In any case, it kind of turned my brain to mush and having a laptop on my lap wasn’t very comfortable (trust me, I DID try), so I spent my days drawing and crafting a bit, while also reading quite a lot~ It was fun, and while I kept brainstorming for the Kissing Monsters series, it also gave me some time to focus on other things.

As fitness workouts were out of the question, I did daily Tai Chi instead, which brought me to articles while browsing the internet concerning meditation, the Law of Attraction, and all those things related to each other. I definitely got intrigued by this other way of living and viewing life, and had always wanted to try meditation for real (not just the occasional attempt I’d made the years before). I never did, though, because “I never had the time”.

Well, the thing is, you just have to make time. And during a heatwave you’ve got plenty of that.

(Ever since that heatwave I’ve been meditating daily for 10 – 20 minutes, and have never skipped a day! I’m loving it ❤️)

During all this, I was also stoked to finally release KISSING SHADOWS, the sequel to KISSING MONSTERS, happy to share the continuation of Kiss and Zane’s love story with the world 🙂

After the heatwave, I wrote KISSING NIGHTMARES and finished it within a week~

 


• September: KISSING SCARLET & Back to work full-time

September came. Summer and autumn fought for a place, and I often took my editing and writing work outside to the balcony to enjoy the final days of warmth.

While editing releases for September as well as October, I worked on the manuscript for KISSING FLAMES, the 6th book in the Kissing Monsters series. It actually took me some time to get used to the busier rhythm of things again, but once I did, the flow returned and I fairly quickly finished the manuscript 🙂

At the end of the month, I celebrated the release of KISSING SCARLET, book 3!

 


• October: The Nocturne Files & my first KM reviews

In October things began to change.

For the better, that is.

I received my very first reviews for the Kissing Monsters series from readers… all over the world.

And WOW. Every single one of them simply blew my mind (they still do, actually); I never dared to expect that readers would fall in love with Kiss and Zane with the same amount of passion I’ve done, but that is exactly what happened, and I honestly don’t have the words to describe how grateful I am for the warm welcome that readers have given me and my story about monsters, angels and Gifted Ones ❤️ The reviews I have received truly are an author’s dream.

These developments really encouraged me in my writing and I didn’t think it was possible, but ever since I’ve been working on my books with even more gusto than I did before 😉 In October I wrote the 7th book, KISSING SECRETS, while also preparing the book releases of The Nocturne Files (Insomnia Saga #2.5) and KISSING GHOSTS (Kissing Monsters #4), designing the books, etc. It was really busy, but incredibly fun to be working on — especially now I knew even more readers than before were waiting for my stories 😀

In the final week of October I released the second short story collection in the Insomnia Saga, The Nocturne Files! I’m still really happy with how the paperback edition turned out~

 


• November: KISSING GHOSTS & passionate monsters & more reviews

The magic didn’t stop after October; in November the Kissing Monsters books kept receiving wonderful reviews, which made me pinch myself several times just to check I wasn’t dreaming~

It was also time for me to start working on the 8th installment, entitled KISSING PASSION. I think I wrote it in about… 3 weeks? I’m not even sure anymore; writing it was like a blur of excitement and emotion, because this installment is the grand finale to the story arc. It was so intense to work on, and I loved every single minute of it (even when I decided to rewrite that scene, and oh, that scene too, and so on; I’m incredibly critical on my work lately!! Guess that’s a good thing, though, right?).

About halfway through November I released KISSING GHOSTS (Kissing Monsters #4), which had already received some pre-publication reviews from my brand new ARC team, making the release day even more fun 😉

In the last week, my book designer and I also made the ebooks for KISSING NIGHTMARES (#5) and KISSING FLAMES (#6), preparing them for their December and January releases.

 


• December: KM Collection & KISSING NIGHTMARES & a secret “witchy” project

In December it was high time to slow down a bit. My editing team and I had finished the final revisions of the year in November, so I took my chance in December for some (mostly) uninterrupted writing time! ❤️ This is how I began working on a project for which I’d already written the plot outline back in May. It was actually supposed to be a stand-alone book… but after a week of working on it and falling in love with the world and characters (happens to me a lot, it seems… 😛 ), I decided to turn it into a series anyway.

Because, why the hell not.

It’s a story filled with witchcraft, magical spiders, and broody romance — I know, sounds more like a project for Halloween, but trust me, it worked just fine to be writing it surrounded by the Christmas lights in the room 😉

 

This month I had not just one, but two releases! First of all the Kissing Monsters Collection #1, released in both ebook and paperback edition, which includes books 1 to 4 from the Kissing Monsters series ❤️ The second was KISSING NIGHTMARES, the fifth installment… and that concludes my publications of 2020 🙂

 

 

And that’s it. My personal 2020 in a nutshell.

This year has been absolutely crazy. Many things have changed because of the pandemic, many people have grown restless, while others put their extra time to good use by creating beautiful things. I’m happy to belong to the latter, and, well… although 2020 hasn’t been exactly ideal, so to say, I honestly can’t say it has been a bad year for me.

It’s actually been pretty awesome.

I think I’ve never written this much in a year before as I did in 2020, and I certainly never published this many books in 12 months; this year I have released 10 works. Ten. I’m amazed just thinking about it, and I actually feel kinda proud too… 🙂

Also, 2020 has taught me to start thinking and living in a new, better way, focusing even more on positivity and learning how much of that energy can actually be “controlled” by a person. I’m not trying to go all Star Wars on you guys (however, “may the force BE with you”, though, really), but I have truly discovered that your mind and so your thoughts could very well be the most powerful tool a person has in life. Good thoughts and being grateful for even the smallest things in your everyday life really can change your entire world and bring your dreams to life.

So, here’s to 2021; I’m not expecting things to go back to “normal” again, yet I’m ready to dive into this year. No matter what, I’m going to make another great year of it, keep the inspiration flow going strong, publish lots of new releases, stick to my daily meditation and hone my positive-thinking skills… and meet many more readers, writers, great people whom I can share this with 😀

Are you ready for 2021?

Thank you so much for reading this very lengthy blog post; I hope you enjoyed it!

And, last but not least… HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I wish all of you the very best ❤️❤️❤️

 

— Lynn

 

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Posted by Lynn Robin in News, 4 comments
JANUARY 2020 Writing Update: INSOMNIA publish-ready + writing ALAIN SOMNUS + dancing demons

JANUARY 2020 Writing Update: INSOMNIA publish-ready + writing ALAIN SOMNUS + dancing demons

I always thought that January was supposed to be this long, boring month that never wanted to end.

Well. Guess I’m wrong there.

This month flew right by for me, but perhaps that’s merely because I’ve just been incredibly busy! And on that note, let’s dive into this update and look back at all I’ve been working on — oh, and dreaming about. Spoiler alert: I had a batshit-crazy dream this month. Stay tuned 😛

 

• INSOMNIA: final round of edits, now publish-ready!

The first few weeks of January my team of beta-readers and I tackled the manuscript of INSOMNIA (Insomnia Saga book 1) for the final time, to polish it into the very best version!

This final round always feels the most important to me, and it’s actually rather exhausting to read, read, read, reread, utterly analyze each and every sentence… But, knowing that I was nearly there and that the book was almost publish-ready, made the work absolutely worth it and still fun ?

I finished editing the manuscript last week, took a weekend off — and since last Monday my awesome designer/partner-in-everything-bookish and I have started working on turning it into an actual book! The eBook is already finished, the file has been uploaded to the publishers, and yesterday we started working on the print-edition. I absolutely love this process, so I’m really excited 😀 I just can’t wait to hold the paperback of INSOMNIA in my hands, you know? (Though I can tell you the eBook edition already feels pretty good.)

 

• Writing: ALAIN SOMNUS

Besides working on the manuscript of INSOMNIA, I’ve also done some writing.

This month I have written a third story for The Insomnia Files — to be exact, File #3: ALAIN SOMNUS. Without giving away any spoilers, this tells the story of the very first Summoner who started fighting the Nightprowlers. It’s really interesting to dive into the Insomnia Saga‘s history like this, and I can’t wait to have this published, so you guys can read it 😉 (But… one step at a time.)

After a week and a half, I finished writing this story, and with that, I have finished my very first writing project of 2020! It feels really good, and I have many more plans, so I can’t wait to see how many more projects I’ll finish this year 🙂

 

The Insomnia Files is a short story collection that will accompany INSOMNIA, containing three stories (File #1: JODI COLLINS, File #2: KAY SOMNUS, and File #3: ALAIN SOMNUS). Its publication is expected for April 2020.

Also…:

In case you’ve missed it, or you’re a new reader — did you know that the first short story, JODI COLLINS, is available as a free eBook? It’s especially written for first-time Insomnia Saga readers, and introduces the main character, Jodi, as well as the world of Summoners and Nightprowlers. The eBook also includes a sneak peek of INSOMNIA!

You can find your preferred download link on this page.

 

• INSOMNIA: cover update reveal

I also shared this last week in a blog post, but I’d like to highlight it again: the cover for INSOMNIA has had an update!

After seeing the final design of the cover for book 2, NOCTURNE (I will share it with you guys ASAP, but I can already tell you it looks freakin’ gorgeous), my designer and I decided that the first cover needed a bit of a boost; so, she recreated the cover and made a beautiful, colorful yet dark version of it!

 

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I’m incredibly happy with this; it makes the international release of this book feel even more “fresh”, in a way 😀

 

• Inspiring dreams: Dancing Demons!

Maybe my mind is simply too busy. Maybe I’ve been writing too many freaky stories about too many monsters.

Whatever the reason, this month I had the strangest dream that involved me having to clear several levels (kind of in video game fashion!), and having to avoid some kind of monster on each of them; I even encountered actual dancing demons.

It was crazy, but the thing was, once I woke up, I could remember everything so clearly. The dream had much more detail than I just described above, but I’m not going to tell you everything yet, because this dream has seriously inspired me for a story — and hey, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers 😛

Anyway, I figured it must work nicely for a stand-alone novella, and I’ve already been writing down some ideas. I can’t possibly say when you guys will ever get to read it, but… I’m just surprised that an actual dream has been able to inspire me like this. Trust me — this doesn’t happen often, for most of my dreams are just weird, random, and well, completely useless for my writing 😉

Wish I had more dreams like those. (Not that I’m short on ideas. To be honest, my mind is crowded with them — and so are my notebooks, lol.)

 

Well, I suppose this wraps up this month quiet nicely — I’ve been at work for merely a few weeks since my Christmas break, but I already feel like I’ve been working for months. I’m enjoying it, though — being busy, finishing projects, starting new ones, working on promotion, it’s all pretty dynamic 😀 It gives me lots of energy, and I can’t wait to start on February!

What’s in store for next month?: I’ll be working on The Nocturne Files, another Insomnia Saga short story collection which will be published after the release of NOCTURNE, I’ll be editing The Insomnia Files (lots of files in this sentence… are you keeping up?), and, perhaps most importantly — I’ll be releasing INSOMNIA, the Insomnia Saga‘s first full-length installment!

ALSO… there will be another release in February—a surprise release for Valentine’s Day; a Dark YAFantasy Romance short story that will be available as a free eBook!

What? Really? YES!

Stay tuned, dear Sleepwalkers.

This is going to be awesome ?

 

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Hope you all had a wonderful month as well, perhaps filled with dreams and monsters?

 

BE CREEPY. STAY FREAKY.

— Lynn

Posted by Lynn Robin in Writing Updates, 2 comments