The Triumphs of 2021
T'is the season for making your 'best nine' post on Instagram! For the past few years, I've shirked the usual method of selecting my 'best' posts (AKA the most liked ones), and instead taken some time to look back through everything I've deemed 'Gram-worthy over the past year to select the posts that make me feel the proudest.
As I scrolled back to the start of 2021, I was shocked to realize how much I've made happen during this tumultuous year. I kept having to stop and say, "That happened this year?" There were so many amazing moments that totally slipped my mind.
Of course, there were some difficult and even devastating memories to think back on as well. It's important to remember social media is more often than not a highlights real that keeps the tough stuff away from the world's eyes. However, for my best nine, I'm fully acknowledging and embracing that highlights reel effect. I want to use this particular method of reflecting to focus on my triumphs, so that's what I'm doing here:
Prrrrrresenting, my personally selected Best Nine for 2021:
This year, I published the final novel in my second ever four book series. When the Lights Come On was a tough one to write. I started and stopped more times than I can remember, and I did it all while struggling with some personal life stuff, but in the end, I came out with a book I'm incredibly proud of featuring some characters I truly love.
I participated in my first ever anthology. Mad Cruel World is a dystopian romance collection, and my contribution, Camp Holloway, is now also available as a free download for members of Club Katia! I had so much fun breaking out of my usual romance subgenres, and I loved getting to collaborate with so many awesome authors.
I announced I'd be shifting from publishing M/F romances to publishing both M/F and F/F romances (and now NB/F too!). I took a risk in not creating a second pen name (which would have been a good business decision on a lot of fronts) because it's important to me to show bisexual readers they don't need to compartmentalize who they are to fit in. The response to that announcement was amazing and one I am still so grateful for.
I wrapped up my pole teacher internship and began teaching classes at the studio. Pole has become such a huge part of my life over the past four years, and sharing that experience with my students has been an absolute joy. The growth I've experienced through my teacher journey so far has been beyond anything I could have imagined. I've learned so much about myself and what I'm capable of, and I've been part of many polers' journeys to find their own confidence too. I've also deepened my understanding of what it means to be an ally to the sex worker community, without whom pole dance wouldn't exist, and I'm looking forward to continuing that process in 2022.
I celebrated two years with my girlfriend. Our relationship started in June 2019 , meaning most of it has happened during Covid. Being in an international long distance relationship during a global pandemic has been...there really aren't words for what it's put us through, but no matter what gets thrown at us, we still keep making it work (including the time the only way we could see each other after a seven month bout of separation was my girlfriend literally walking into Canada across a bridge at Niagara Falls due to some wackily complicated border restrictions). I am so damn proud of how we've grown as a couple and as individuals over this past year, and I feel so lucky to have such an amazing person as a partner.
I released by first novella. Stop and Stare is my first NB/F romance and my first novella (it's also an exclusive freebie for Club Katia members!). This story means so much to me, and it's been incredible to see how much it means to readers too.
I released my first ever F/F romance novel, and I can honestly say this is the book that changed my life. Catch and Cradle hit the top ten in Amazon's lesbian romance chart, and my career hasn't been the same since. It's been a wild ride keeping up with the changes, and I'm still working on all the doubt and insecurity that's come from this shift, but I'm also well on the road to living my dreamssss and freaking EXCITED to be here. I'm also so totally beyond grateful for the many, many new readers and writers this book has brought into my life and for my place in this community.
I published my second F/F romance. This Used to Be Easier soared all the way to the top five in the lesbian romance chart! I'd had the idea for Meg and Connie's story in my head for years. It was actually the first F/F romance I planned to write, but I'm so glad I saved it for the right time for these characters and for me. I've been humbled to see so many readers connecting with this small town story that's very close to my heart.
I turned a profit. My author business has now made more than everything I've spent on publishing since I started, and I'm consistently making more than I spend each month. This has been a dream of mine for years, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead for my business now that I've reached this amazing milestone.
And there we have it: my triumphs of 2021! I sound incredibly cheesy, but my heart is so full knowing my work has connected with the people who need it this year. Those connections are what keep me heading into my little closet office every day, and they're what have me ready to share even more stories in 2022.