The good thing about anniversaries is that they roll around every year. And thus, here we are, celebrating the 2nd birthday of my baby blog. Or is it toddler now? The second year wasn’t less eventful than the first one, even though 2019 was one of my worst years personally. To be honest, I have bittersweet feelings about it, because on the other hand, there were things worth remembering, despite my shitty personal life. Thankfully, the blog kept growing and it weren’t much effected by my struggles.
As last year, I’d like to take a look back at this past year and highlight some milestones and memories including a lot of pictures. It probably will be a long-ass post, so, be ready for it.
The Magical Numbers
I’ll start this one just to get it out of the way – we all know numbers aren’t everything. I somehow gathered 1K followers on Twitter (!!) which still baffles me and I still keep asking if you guys didn’t make any mistake, lol.
As for the blog, last year the overall views were around 21K which is pretty incredible if we compare to the first year, which was about 6K. Practically I tripled the views, which is absolutely crazy. Also, we are nearing the 500th post only 6 more to go!
My First Physical ARC
As an international blogger, and one who reads more indie books than traditionally published ones, it’s not everyday that I get a book from a publisher. Especially when I don’t even expect it. I mean, I did contact Orbit back in May if I could get a physical ARC of The Ten Thousand Doors of January, but I didn’t expect to actually get it a couple of months later. I was totally speechless when I opened the package – incidentally, I just started reading the ebook around that time and was craving to read a physical book. And there it was, in my hands! It was a pretty good day too.
SPFBO and Leaving the Big Sites
During my first year as a blogger, I had the pleasure to join some bigger teams such as Grimdark Magazine and Fantasy Book Review. Circumstances however led me to cut ties with each site, in order to better manage my time and focus on other things. Not least SPFBO. After Fantasy Book Review stepped back from judging, I volunteered to take up the mantle and to my surprise I was accepted into the fold. I invited a couple of my blogger friends to join me and so Jen, Belle, Nick and I threw ourselves into the competition. You can follow our progress on my SPFBO 5 page!
Becoming a Freelancer
2019 was the year of changes. Mentally and emotionally I was really down in the first few months of the year and desperately needed a change. Any change to start to climb out of the mess I was in. And so in May I decided to cut back my work hours and started working part time while I started offering Editorial Services. I was lucky enough to work on some really good books and I can’t wait to work on some more in the future! So, if you need a second pair of eyes, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Queen Terrible Timy Is Born
Many of you aren’t familiar of the story how I’ve become Queen Terrible Timy. But before I tell you that, I have to go back a bit further in time. Nicknames are something I never liked. Unfortunately for me my name (Tímea) have way too many nickname versions, and the only one I can stand is Timy – hence why I use that name. In Hungarian, if you want to give a nickname to a child (mostly) then you put a dimunitive at the end of their name, in my case that would be Timike for instance. Now, as someone who have insecurities tied to their height, being called in names that already has a dimunitive, it’s like a kick in the stomach. As Tímea is a pretty popular name in my generation, in every class I’ve been in, there was another Tímea, and of course to differentiate us I always got attached a name which indicated that I’m “the small one”. On top of it, especially older people, naturally attach that damned dimunitive to my name. Not out of spite, but because it’s just something they feel like doing. But for me it’s a constant reminder and also something that makes me feel inferior. And I never was cool enough to have a badass nickname.
Fast forward to 2019. I don’t remember if it was my Priest of Bones or Priest of Lies review, but in any case, I ran into a misunderstanding with a blogger buddy and Peter McLean stepped in saying no fight in his town. I replied with a reference to the books, then one thing followed another and he give me the name of Terrible Timy. I loved it and it was something born out of the moment, something that had no negative connotations attached to it. I embraced it happily. When someone who you look up to gives you a badass name, you just run with it. Believe me. (I also secretly hope Terrible Timy will make into one of his books or short stories, because honestly, how damn cool that would be?!)
A few months went by, people got used to my new name, and thankfully were on board. Then Dublin happened (more about this later). One night Miles/Christian Cameron had his swords with him in the bar and so we played around with them. A picture was taken of us and the next day my friend, Tom Clews said we looked like I was about to knight him. My reaction: so, what? I should add Queen to my name? And so I did.
It started out something as an insider joke, but to my surprise many people were game and somehow it had become my persona. And I revel in it. Sometimes I worry that I overdo it and that people who don’t know me yet (new followers and such) think I’m some crazy bitch, but it means more to me than you might know it. And that’s why I decided to embrace it completely and build on it – my logo got an added crown and my new rating system (check out my March Sneak Peek) is also reflecting on my role as queen. I might overdo this all, but I’m enjoying it way too much to give it up anytime soon.
I’m in a Book
To my knowledge, my name or a character inspired by me will appear in at least 3 books in the near future. But my first ever appearance happened this January! David Hambling had a character based on me and named Timi in his latest book, War of the God Queen, which is a great honour. I haven’t got around to read it yet, but I already stalked my name 😀
I had quite a few new features being introduced this past year:
- First of The Questioning: which started as a celebration feature for the anniversary and then remained as a more or less monthly feature
- Tales from the Asylum: this was created for our SPFBO participants as a way to give them some more exposure. I LOVE this feature, so will keep it around in the future for anyone who’d like to play
- Introducing Budapest: my attempt to get out more and while doing so write up posts about the beautiful sights of this amazing city I call home. So far I only had 2 such posts: National Theatre and Palace of Arts, Kossuth Square
- A Week in My Head: my weekly journal. I talk about stuff that happened any given week, be it good or bad or just random ramblings. I apparently can’t keep it up every week, but I do my best. It’s actually a nice way to deal with some stuff – writing down things always helps me.
- What the Hungarian?!: this is one of my newest features, in which I give Hungarian translation of book quotes to people to try to guess the original. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds. Check out how Nick did in the first post!
- To Be Continued…: also one of my newest I created for the 2nd anniversary. 5 authors, 2 weeks/person and 1 story. They work without knowing about each other and I just LOVE how this all works out. We are currently working on the 2nd story and it’s already going crazy, lol. But until then, read the First Part of The New Sound here!
If you’d like to take part in any of the features (well, except A Week in my Head and Introducing Budapest, that is), please fill out this form to let me know: https://forms.gle/bWs3YjndaDwK1xPm9
My Favourite Posts and Bits
I’ll pick some of my favourite posts from last year. If you want to see what my favourite books were, then I kindly recommend checking out our Advent Book Calendar 2019 page!
- Books featuring Music Part 1 and 2: in Part 1 recommended books I’ve read which featured Music in Part 2 I picked a few recs I’ve got and seemed up to my alley.
- 10 Books Featuring Kids in Adult Fiction
- 20+1 Songs for Road Trips
- Interview with Peter McLean
- Interview with Tippy from The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes
- The Questioning: Daniel E. Olesen – Daniel managed to bring out my worst side… burglary, torturing and a lot of fun stuff happened in this one…
- The Questioning: Devin Madson – She made me spill some dark secrets, namely how I lost my cousin in a wood, I give my opinion about pinapples on pizza and I tell what animal I would ride into a battle.
- The Questioning: Clayton Snyder – Probably this was the most entertaining one. Mostly because I had no idea half of the time what the hell he meant by his questions 😀
- The Questioning: David Hambling – I loved this one, I talked about writing, being bilingual, music and what kind of character I would be (a kick ass one, naturally).
- The Questioning: Swiff – I like Swiff’s humor and had a few LOL moments while reading his answers. He is quite violent and a big fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
- The Questioning: Emma – Crazy cat lady, Malazan fan, she thirsts for power and loves Toothless as much as I do.
- Tales from the Asylum: Graham Austin-King
- Tales from the Asylum: Anela Deen
- Tales from the Asylum: Paul Freeman
- Why Did I Stop Reading in Hungarian
- Interview with Jyuth from Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
- Interview with RJ Barker
- Interview with Tom Parker
Storytellers On Tour
The most recent milestone in my life is the launch of this blog/instagram/youtube tour offering service for indie SFF authors I created together with Justine from Whispers & Wonder. It’s something I’m really excited about and already put quite a lot of work into it – the only person who worked more on it is Justine, who is just absolutely awesome. We hope to make it grow in the future and have as many bloggers in our Rodies team as we can get. We are also absolutely on board to do things most such services don’t and come up with unique ideas tailored to the needs of the authors who require our services. One of the tours we are currently working on is something I didn’t see yet and I can’t wait to see how it will work out. Anyway, if you’d like to be one of our Roadies, sign up here to receive word of our newest tours! If you are an indie publisher/author and would like to know more about our services, then please take a look around on our page!
Poets of the Fall, Halestorm, Three Days Grace
This past year I didn’t attend as many concerts as I would have liked to, but nonetheless, there were some memorable moments. In April one of my absolute favourite bands, Poets of the Fall came to Budapest for the first time! So, naturally, I had to be there. I even bought a VIP ticket to give myself the full treatment and boy I did need that. It was an incredible night and they even played my most favourite song, Carnival of Rust. My. Mind. Was. Blown. I even got myself a T-shirt with the design for one of their singles, False Kings featuring a huge crown. Little did I know I would become queen in a couple of months and that it would be fitting more than ever. Hah!
In the summer Three Days Grace and Halestorm came to Budapest for a night. Three Days Grace is among those first bands who made me fall hopelessly in love with rock and roll. They dominated my teenage years and Adam Gontier will always be among my favourite singers. Sadly he left the band a couple of years back and though I adored Matt’s voice in his previous band, I just don’t think he fits into Three Days Grace. Still, for a nostalgia it was great and they played a lot of fan favourites – even if Matt couldn’t sing those songs really well. But, for me the highlight of the night was Halestorm who took up the role of the warm up band. A shame, really, because they were so much better. It was my first time seeing them and holy shit. Lzzy has a fucking powerhouse in her throat. She is goddamn incredible. I really hope they’ll come around again and get their own headline show, because they deserve it so much!
Probably the biggest event for me was my 1 week in Dublin. I attended the WorldCon for the first time ever. I’ve also never been in Dublin so I’ve hit two birds with one stone. I was pretty excited as well as anxious as hell. I wrote about my expectations and my plans in this post: I’m going to an Irish WorldCon in Dublin, eeek! I was supposed to write a post about my experiences, but I was 1) busy with other things as I tried to catch up to myself and 2) wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind.
While overall I had fun, I left with mixed feelings. Most of that I think comes down to the fact that I’m reeeeally socially awkward and it’s hard to come over. This was only my second con, and after the relaxed BristolCon this was a huge step. Still, I did fairly well despite that, but there were still times when I felt like I made a mistake by attending WorldCon. But it also was a good opportunity to earn some more experiences and figure out what works for me and what I have to change.
I tried to not have too high expectations to begin with, as that usually works in my favor, I also tried to go with an open mind and try to be friendly and inviting. Despite my awkwardness when being in the presence of others, I fared well, though I didn’t make as many new friends/aquintances as I hoped. Obviously I still have a long way to go. On the plus side, I wasn’t as conscious of my English, but I still have room to improve on that. The biggest issue regarding that – and that’s always the case – was the fact that my voice is just not made for talking in a loud environment. That I’m also tiny doesn’t help either, because people either have to bend down to me or lean really close to hear me and, yeah, that’s not really comfortable. It also makes it easy to talk over my head, which can make me feel left out – which is most of the time unintentional, and honestly, I really can’t fault people on that, because more often than not, I just absolutely have no idea how to join in conversations. Did I mention how much I suck at socialising? I can do well on one-on-ones, but group conversations? Hell no, I just go mute, because I either can’t add anything or just can’t make myself be heard. And most of all, I just feel like an intruder who has just no right to be there. Combine this with the above mentioned feeling of being left out, and… well, it’s not a good feeling.
So, I was constantly battling with anxiety and everything above which sometimes can be damn overwhelming and exhausting. But since I knew myself, I pretty much expected all this to happen, so I tried to come over these things by either seeking out people I knew I felt comfortable with, or just tried not to take things personally and go on my own way.
And this is how I ended up with a day off where I went to take a nice long walk in Dublin. That city is pretty cool and I wouldn’t mind spending some more time there in the future.
But to talk about the positives, I’ve got to hang out with people such as Devin Madson, Miles Cameron (OMG I loved meeting him and he is such a nice person!), Cameron Johnston, Melissa Caruso, Fonda Lee, Sam Hawke, RJ Barker; my BristolCon buddies Sadir, Kareem, DM Murray, Graham Austin-King, Alicia Wanstall-Burke, Luke Scull, Tom Clews, RB Watson, T.o. Munro, Ben Galley, Dyrk Ashton, Phil Williams and blogger friends such as Adam Weller, TS Chan, Anna (imyril) among others (sorry, if I missed anyone…). I’ve attended some interesting panels (though, honestly, I’m not a big fan of panels still) and went to Orbit’s publisher event. Which was awesome, but probably we didn’t made the best of impressions when we showed up dripping wet. On that 10 minutes walk we got caught by a heavy rain and got drenched within minutes. Good times.
All in all it was a great experience and I have some good memories, but whether I’ll go to another WorldCon or not remains to be seen yet. I definitely wasn’t a fan of the crowd and the fact that you had to wait in line in advance to get into the more popular panels and that I missed Ben Aaronovich’ signing (though that was my own fault…). On the other hand it was nice to meet people I otherwhise couldn’t have.
BristolCon and Other Adventures in the UK
As I did in 2018, I headed to BristolCon in 2019 as well. I was planning to attend FantasyCon in Glasgow as well, but after WorldCon I lacked the funds to do so. And besides, I needed to recharge my batteries and the more laid back, less crowded BristolCon suited my needs. And let’s not forget about the fact that I had many friends waiting for me there. Seriously, it really was a no brainer after all. It’s always nice to catch up with people I already met in person which takes away a big portion of anxiety. And this year there were more new people to meet finally! Such as Mike Shackle and his dad Arthur Shackle, Jenny Hannaford, Michael Baker, Peter Newman, Gareth L. Powell just to name a few. This year we had the excitement of a fire alarm, and London still didn’t accept me for some reason. You can read about my adventures in this post and have a good laugh at me as I try to get a signature from Peter Newman. Phil Williams definitely had fun there…
Oh and I finally met someone who eats slower than me!! I also got to take a walk in the beautiful city of Bristol and I seriously could imagine myself living there.
Banksy and Yet Another UK Trip
This year I didn’t have big plans for my birthday – partly because lack of money and partly because I just really didn’t feel like celebrating much. Thankfully life had other plans for me. In January I learned that the Banksy exhibition comes to Budapest and so I HAD to get a ticket and go see it on my birthday.
I was also invited by my friend to visit them for a weekend in the UK and so I took the chance. We had a nice couple of days, I’ve got a birthday cake and we went to a gig which was just a perfect birthday party. Oh, and my niece was born that weekend too! I wrote all about it in this entry of my online weekly journal.
Last and not least I’d like to say thank you to all the friends I kept this past year and the new ones I made. I wouldn’t be able to keep the blog as long as I did without your support and help. I love being part of this community even if I don’t always feel like I belong. 2019 was a shitshow in many ways and I’m grateful for every encouragement, advice, like, comment and hug I’ve received. You are all awesome and I love you! I’m not quite sure yet what the future holds for me at the moment, but RockStarlit BookAsylum will stay around for a bit longer, I can promise you that. And you have my permission to kick my ass if I would want to close it down. So, here is to one more year!