L. B. Anne's Candid Look Back at 2023 and What's Brewing for 2024
Hey there, 2024! Buckle up because we're about to take a stroll down memory lane, through the whirlwind that was 2023. It was a year of firsts, both highs and lows, and I'm itching to share it all.
First off, hitting the road and meeting you all in bookstores across the U.S. was a dream. The cutie in the photos patiently waited her turn to have her book signed.
I got to meet not just my readers but some of the amazing kids from my summer program. Michigan, you were a warm hug, but New York? Reality check central.
This part is still hard to believe I experienced. I'd been living in my bubble, unaware of how toxic social media could be. So what happened?
Well, it wasn't quite like the GIF above, but I initially found myself leaning more toward a flight response rather than a fight.
Friends, I faced death threats (Yes, ME!), instructing me not to come to New York if I knew what was good for me. It was much worse than what I'm willing to share. Unfortunately, the threats were all because of the color of my skin and my faith. It hit hard and made me question everything. Social media turned toxic, and for a moment, I thought about shutting it all down. The person or people (we aren't sure if it was one person carrying out the whole ordeal) stalked me, and I even had to hire security for a book signing.
For two months, I didn't write and questioned if I was cut out for this. I didn't want what comes with social media. So I decided to quit—meaning never write again. But then you stepped in. Your photos, letters, and emails were my lifeline. You, my readers, pulled me out of the darkness and reminded me why I started this journey—to spread hope and adventures through my stories.
Let's shift to something brighter:
My summer writing program reached new heights in 2023, with a record enrollment of twenty-four kids from across the globe, ages 10-17. The joy and laughter shared during those six weeks were priceless, making the few growing-pain challenges worthwhile. We also had some of the best author, editor, and illustrator guest speakers.
In the second image below, I look sick. That's because I was. I almost passed out between sessions with the kids, but I didn't let them know. I soon found out how inflamed my body was. Don't worry, all is well.
Yes, I was dressed like Malificent in that last photo. We all dressed as characters for a writing prompt. LOL.
The release of the Sheena Meyer series Funko Pop characters exceeded all expectations. Theodore, in particular, flew off the shelves. Initially, you had me a bit worried. I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, I ordered all of these, thinking they'd make great gifts, and no one has placed an order yet." But a couple of days later, your orders started rolling in. And due to popular demand, I'm considering bringing them back next Christmas. For those interested, there are still a few characters available in the shop for purchase.
The influx of fan art throughout the year has been nothing short of wonderful. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. Also, a heartfelt thank you for sharing photos of my books in their new homes. They make my day, every time.
2023 had its regrets, though. I wish I had published more books, a sentiment that has fueled my decisions for 2024. While there will be fewer book signings, rest assured, several projects are in the pipeline and with editors. The upcoming releases include Sleeper series book 4, It's Me, Jaxon book 2, Knights of the Gleam book 2, Sheena Meyer series book 8, and a few new surprises. Please bear with me as I've learned not to set specific release dates due to life's unpredictable nature. But if I'm showing you book covers, they must be releasing sooner in 2024 than later (wink wink). I'll reveal the cover for Sheena Meyer book 8 soon. I'm not sure I'm happy with it.
To those eagerly anticipating the Logan Tobias story, your wait will soon be over—it's slated for release this year.
With January comes my annual mega-book giveaway. Keep an eye on your inbox for the email, and make sure to enter for a chance to win!
As we welcome 2024, I'm filled with gratitude for the journey and anticipation for the adventures yet to come. Thank you for being a part of this incredible ride. Here's to a year of creativity, connection, and most importantly, storytelling!
L. B. Anne