Most of the good things about this year came from other people – the readers, bloggers, and other authors I’ve had the privilege of connecting with online. So, this list of milestones is more a list of ‘thank you’s to just a few of the many, many people who took a chance on my books this year and helped put them on the map.

(I did release this list of milestones to my newsletter earlier. The only difference is that this one has more pictures.)

1. First time publishing an adult fantasy book

I was not at all confident in The Sword of Kaigen when I released it in February. Thank you to everyone who bought it, reviewed it, and made it a bigger success than I ever anticipated!

2. First time getting reviews from big fantasy blogs

Thank you Petrik and the whole crew at Novel Notions, Adam and Eon at Fantasy Book Review, JC Kang (author of The Dragon Songs Saga) at Fantasy Faction, Nils at the Fantasy Hive, Holly at The Grimdragon, Jen at Rockstarlit Book Asylum, Philippa Mary at The Little Book OwlRob J. Hayes (author of Never Die), and so many others for the reviews that got The Sword of Kaigen off the ground and kept it afloat for so many more to find.

Edit: as of this posting, I’ve also made several year-end best lists I wasn’t expecting at all. Thank you so much!

3. First time participating in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off)

Thank you to Mark Lawrence for hosting this incredible competition (which I wrote about separately here). The camaraderie I’ve found with other authors through SPFBO has been one of those things I didn’t know I needed and now wouldn’t give up for anything. Thank you to every one of the judges, not just Kitty G, who put The Sword of Kaigen through to the finals, but also The Fantasy HiveFantasy Book CriticLynn’s BooksFantasy FactionSuperStar DrifterBooknestThe QwilleryThoughts Stained with Ink, and Rockstarlit Book Asylum.

4. First book signing

I had no reason to put this picture here. I just love it. You’re welcome.

Thank you to The Crafty Cat Rescue for inviting me out to the signing, giving me a chance to meet other authors, and letting me pet the kittens. I basically couldn’t have asked for anything better.

5. First blog tour

‘The Whispering Blade’ by Fanna Sharma (

Thank you to Karina at Afire Pages for reaching out and offering to host a blog tour for The Sword of Kaigen and to every blogger who put their time into reading, reviewing, and doing other amazing stuff like the digital art above! (you can find them all listed here).

6. First book to pass 100 Goodreads ratings

7. SECOND book to pass 100 Goodreads ratings!

And yes, they’re both well over 100 (SoK is even over 100 reviews!) now, but it was a big milestone at the time. Thank you to everyone who took the time to rate and review on Goodreads.

8. First unprompted fanart!

The Sword of Kaigen Art by Arielle Werthaim
The Duel by Arielle Werthaim

Thank you to @arielle_the_merms on Instagram for this breathtaking Sword of Kaigen artwork!

There are a lot of exciting firsts this year that didn’t make this list (i.e. first time being on podcasts, thanks to Calvin Park at Under a Pile of Books and Andy Peloquin at The Fantasy Fiends) and so many more people I should probably thank, but eight is the lucky number in China and we don’t want to invite bad luck before the new decade.

I’m also drafting a 2020 Projects & Goals post, so look for that soon!

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    1. Thank you so much! I couldn’t have made any of these milestones without readers – and more specifically book bloggers – like you putting in the time to read, review, and recommend books.

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