2019 in Retrospect

I realize it’s woefully been well over a year since I 1) published a blog post on here 2) updated my website. If you commented on a post months ago, I am so sorry it took me so long to reply! Maintaining a website has been a new experience for me, and I’ve had to learn a lot along the way because I truly lack the knack for technological things. But…if there is a silver lining here, I would say my lack of activity and updates here means I have been investing my attention and time elsewhere, mainly in writing new projects and traveling.

Here’s a quick highlight reel of 2019:

THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE was published on March 5, 2019

It was surreal and exciting to see my duology come to its conclusion. I had an amazing Street Team, and I also had a launch party at Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA. It was a night to remember. I did a virtual signing with Good Choice Reading, and got to sign so many pre-order copies for my readers (pictured below).

A week after pub date, my editor emailed me to let me know that The Queen’s Resistance was on the YA Hardcover Bookscan Bestseller list for the week of 3/9/19. I was completely shocked by this news, and of course excited and thankful for my readers who showed up for the book, whether it was by pre-ordering, leaving a review on retail sites, and/or featuring my books on their social media. If you are one of those amazing readers…thank you! Those seemingly small actions add up to be so important and vital for authors and the longevity of our unpredictable careers.

I went on an Epic Reads Meet Up Tour

I got to visit St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee in the company of some fantastic writers.

On the last day of April, I finished my first Adult Fantasy Manuscript

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me post updates about this book, which I dubbed my “secret project 21.” I am very excited about this novel, and I hope to share more details and updates about it soon!

In the meantime, if you’re curious to know the tone and aesthetic for this project, you can check out the Pinterest board where I gathered some visual inspiration for this book (check out the board here: https://www.pinterest.com/rebeccajross/adult-fantasy-novel/ ). I also made my Spotify playlist for the book public, and I think the music that inspired this book is quite forth telling about the setting: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4V7UuEsgHOPqnTWMzqnwq7

I also began to draft the sequel to this novel during the summer (dubbed my “fire project”), and got around 70,000 words in before I had to shift gears. But for the most part, I know exactly where I’m heading with this duology, and I know the final line and it still gives me chills when I think about it.

These characters truly found me when I needed them most, and I wrote these novels for myself, which is honestly a hard thing to do after you’ve had a publishing deal, when expectations and worries and contracts start to weigh down your imagination and productivity. You want to write a book that your readers and fans will love, a book that will sell, a book that your editor will adore, but also something that speaks to you in the moment, something you love and are proud of. It can be a difficult dance to discover.

So, I think it’s safe to say these two novels were like beacons and light to me all throughout the highs and lows of 2019. Even if they never land a publishing deal and no one other than my agent and my critique partners ever reads them…they mean the world to me.

All throughout summer and autumn, I finished my last round of edits for SISTERS OF SWORD & SONG.

The cover was finally revealed, which I am SO IN LOVE WITH. It was exactly what I was envisioning for this book. The illustration is by Kate O’Hara, and the handlettering is by Molly Fehr.

I think what delights me the most is how everything on the cover (and the back cover too, which is just as exquisite) ties into this story of the two heroines, Evadne and Halcyon. Evadne, who becomes a scribe, and Halcyon, who is a warrior in the queen’s army, are both descendants of the fallen god of the wind. Wings and flight play vital themes in the story. The girls also grew up in an ancestral olive grove, which their family still tends and cares for.

I held this book in printed form for the first time in November when my ARCs (advance reader copies) arrived and it was surreal. I might have breathed in the scent of the pages and gotten teary eyed, and it’s not even the final version! (Those should arrive on my threshold within the next two months or so!).

If you’re new to my books, and somehow stumbled upon this website blog and want to learn more about Sisters of Sword & Song, feel free to visit my webpage devoted to it: https://rebeccarossauthor.com/sisters-of-sword-and-song/

I’m currently preparing to launch a Street Team, so that’s been keeping me busy in 2020. But I digress…

Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of my 2019 was this one right here:

I visited Mexico for the Guadalajara International Book Festival, to celebrate the release of La Resistencia de la Reina!

It was my first time in Mexico, and it was one of those trips that I always dreamt of but never truly expected to happen–being invited by one of my foreign publishers for a book event. I honestly felt like I was dreaming most of the time!

Not only did I get to meet some amazing readers and sign their books (one reader was dressed up in one of the BEST Brienna cosplays I have ever seen!), I also got to meet my Spanish editor, Leo. It’s always a special moment when an author gets to meet the team of people behind her books, and I was so honored to meet Dalil, Evelyn and Larissa, who work for Urano, my Spanish publisher, and most of all were kindred spirits. I felt like I had known them for years!

My Spanish Editor, Leo!

The lovely Shea Ernshaw was also with me (my first time meeting her!) and if you have not read The Wicked Deep or Winterwood…what are you waiting for!?

It was a special trip, and was the perfect way to conclude my 2019. I hope to return to Mexico again soon, because it is a beautiful place.

The last thing of 2019 I worked on…

Was my next young adult fantasy. This will be my fourth published YA novel, and I began drafting it literally on Thanksgiving Day, and tried to work on it as much as I could before I flew off to Mexico in December. When I returned from my trip, I knew I needed to buckle down and draft this book as quickly as I could (it was due to my editor by mid-January). Drafting is typically my favorite part of writing a novel, and I hit a few hard, slow days but I somehow got this book complete and sent off on time!

I’m very very excited about this novel, and it should be announced soon (like…I’m hoping in the next few weeks), but until then, here is what I can say about it:

  • It’s a stand-alone novel
  • It’s a young adult fantasy
  • There’s revenge, magicians, mirrors and nightmares
  • There’s also an enemies-to-lovers romance
  • It’s on schedule to publish summer 2021

More to come soon, I promise!

Final thoughts on 2019:

It was a good year. A busy year. A productive year. It was also a hard year in my personal life. But when I look back on it…I see how I grew, not just in my writing and my craft, but in experiences and courage and strength and resiliency.

I hope your 2019 was good to you, and that 2020 (wow, I cannot even believe it’s already MARCH!!) will also bring wonderful things into your life.

Keep creating and exploring, my friends.



About Rebecca Ross

I write fantasy novels for young adults. Out now: THE QUEEN'S RISING and THE QUEEN'S RESISTANCE. Coming up next: SISTERS OF SWORD & SONG, publishing on June 23, 2020 with HarperTeen/HarperCollins.
Blog Post, News, Sisters of Sword & Song, The Queen's Resistance

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