J. E. H U N T E R

A writer of young adult fiction specializing in self-publishing, creativity, and writing.

For this weeks Creative Writing Prompt, I’ve decided to do something a bit different. The other week, in order to refresh my own writing and generate some new ideas and move past some minor writer’s block, I decided to go on a long walk in my home city of Saskatoon. Saskatoon has a great riverside trail called the Meewasin Valley Trial, which boasts all kinds of sights and sounds. I decided to capture some moments on my walk, and compiled them into this video montage for a special writing prompt. So on to the creative writing prompt this week (do one or do them all!):

  1. Describe the distinct sounds in each video clip.
  2. Write a story about a person on this journey. Where are they heading and why? What is at stake if they don’t get there?
  3. Describe the sights and colours in each video clip.
  4. Write a poem from the clips. How do they make you feel?
  5. Write about what you see and hear from the perspective of an alien watching the video feed from a far away planet.

Don’t forget, if you missed the last prompt, you can find it here. And, if you’re interested, here is a link to further information about the Saskatoon Meewasin Valley Trail.

Hi All! I’m so excited because today is By Sapphire Light book release day! This sun has even come out this morning in celebration. We had a huge winter storm yesterday, so the change in weather feels like a sign of good things to come for By Sapphire Light. I’ve been bringing this book together for almost two years now. It always feels good to release a new book out into the world after spending so much time with it. I just hope you all love it as much as I do.

By Sapphire Light is the first book in my new Gemology Saga, a steampunk fantasy series set in a gem powered world. You can find the blurb in my previous post here. As it is By Sapphire Light book release day, I decided to do a photoshoot. I had a fun time this morning taking some pictures of the book with my coffee. The cover looks fantastic this way, doesn’t it? My cat seemed to think so too, as he tried to cuddle right up next to it.

Currently, By Sapphire Light is only available on Kindle, as I wanted the book to be in the Kindle Unlimited Program for a while. I will be sure to let you know when By Sapphire Light is available on the other platforms. But for now, I hope you can enjoy it with a cup of coffee.

You can find By Sapphire Light on Amazon.com here, and on the Amazon Canada store here.

This week, I have a new creative writing photo prompt for you. I know, it’s been a while. I’ve just been so busy getting ready for By Sapphire Light to be released into the world. And now that it is, I’m ready to write some new things and I hope you are too! So, without further ado, here is this weeks creative writing photo prompt:

Write a scene where two characters are arguing, but write it from the perspective of this cat. Set your timer and write for ten minutes without stopping:

Need a sentence starter? Try: They just wouldn’t stop yelling about ____.

Missed the last writing prompt? You can find it here.

Looking for more prompts? I have a whole book of them available on Amazon here, Kobo here, and iBooks here.

By Sapphire Light almost here! The pre-order for By Sapphire Light is up on Amazon now and the novel will release on March 30th. That’s less than a week away! This week I’ve been tweaking the cover, and I’ve adjusted the final image. Don’t you love it!

By Sapphire Light Cover

I’m so excited to share this book with you. By Sapphire Light has been a long time in the making. This story was really a labour of love. I’ve come to love the characters so much and I hope that all of you will come to love them with me. Here’s what it’s about:

In the land of Yurdeh, gemstones mean life.

Starr Wandermer has spent her life gem hunting with her mother, Diamond. Yurdeh is a land on the brink of total destruction. Years ago, a meteor destroyed the land and covered the sky in dust, but it also brought the ability to charge gemstones. Each type of gemstone has a unique power, and Starr and her mother are searching for a gem that can clear Yurdeh’s skies.

When Starr’s mother is kidnapped from their new mining claim, Starr escapes capture with a single uncharged gemstone in her pocket. Starr knows she must transport the unidentified gem to the magical crater across the country. When Starr is followed onto the train, she discovers that the young heirs of BGMC—a corrupt corporation that would kill Starr to claim the gem—are on her tail. Starr evades BGMC with the help of Hinton, a dashing young member of a secret society. Together, Starr and Hinton race across the land in order to charge the gem, discover its power, and save Diamond before time runs out.

The pre-order for By Sapphire Light is up and you can find it here:

At the moment, I’m only going to release By Sapphire Light on Amazon so I can take advantage of the Kindle Unlimited Program for the first three months. After this, I’ll be releasing By Sapphire Light wide (meaning to Apple, Kobo, Nook, etc.). By Sapphire Light is the first book in The Gemology Saga, a steampunk adventure series. I’ve long been a fan of Steampunk and am excited to add my own take on this genre to the world.

And I certainly I hope you’re excited to read it!

JEH

Hi All! Welcome to March and my fourth update on my project: Writing 261,000 words in a year. This month my plan is to get back to drafting, in which case my daily word count should once again increase steadily. This year, I’ve been writing a lot stops and starts. Due to the handful of projects I’ve been working on this year, including By Sapphire Light, (which I hope to share with you all soon) my writing hasn’t been as steady as the year when I wrote 365,000 words a year. And I prefer writing slow and steady.

At the beginning of my writing year, I wrote fast because I wanted to feel like I was making progress. I often find I have an easier time finishing things if I work on them steadily. But this year I’ve so far only pushed myself to work in quick, hard bursts to get drafts completed before my ideas have time to sizzle out. And I’ve been finding writing so quickly stressful.

Starting February with Some New Writing Projects

Now that it’s March, I really want to get back to slow-and-steady drafting. Not so quick, not so likely to burn out—this is what I’m hopping. I’m currently at 165,500 words written this year. (Remember my year began September 1, 2020, when I switched to writing full time). I’m well on track to reach 261,000 words a year by September 1, 2021. Currently, if I was writing the 1,000 words a day Monday to Friday that I’d planned, it would be April 19th. This all means that I’m on track to write over 261,000 words this year! This is great, because that means I’ll finish the draft of several novels this year by only writing 1,000 words a day! Drafting only 1,000 new words a day leaves plenty of time in my day for rewriting, which my drafts desperately need.

When you look at a whole year broken down into such a small daily goal, a project like writing a novel in a year feels entirely possible.

Writing 261,000 Words in a Year – Update #4 – Word Count Spreadsheet

So, what am I working on this month? First, rewrites on my main project continue. My ‘drafting’ project becomes BGG, the sequel to By Sapphire Light. BGG is already 2/3 drafted, so I should have the complete draft of BGG done by the end of March. Lately I’ve been working on some new, small projects as you can see on my spreadsheet. The end of February has a few ‘word dumps’, which means I didn’t actually write over 13,000 words in one day, it means I did a poor job tracking what I wrote on what day throughout February. So, I ended up taking the entire word count of two new short stories and a new novella and placing the total at the end of the month. I promise to be better at my tracking in March! Check in for another update soon!

JEH

Young Adult Book Review of Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

I got this beautiful edition of The Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie in an Owl Crate box last year, because yes, I am a sucker for bookish goodies. Give me not only pretty editions signed by the author, and gorgeous smelling candles to go along with them. Anyway, I digress. I’m here to talk about Bone Crier’s moon, which I finally picked up the other week. And guess what, I loved it!

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Bone Crier’s Moon is a young adult fantasy novel that is full of unique mythology and world building. It circles around three narrators: Sabine and Alisse, two Bone Crier’s about to complete their right of passage, and Bastien, sworn enemy of the Bone Crier’s. I wasn’t sure I’d like so many narrators in one book, especially since they are all written in first person, but I found that each voice was unique enough that it flowed well. I enjoyed experiencing the story from all the different angles. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was the mix with French culture and language.

Bone Crier’s Moon is full of magic and weaves a rich, fast-paced, and enjoyable story. The romance was believable and star-crossed. The magic was definitely a bit on the dark side, so if you like light and sparkly magic only, then this might not be your thing. But if, like me, you like things to be a bit on the dark side, then this book is a good read. For more information, you can check out this book’s Goodreads page here. And don’t forget, you find my reviews on other great young adult books on my My Thoughts on Books page.

Have you read it? What did you think?

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

I have been blogging for more years that I can count. I’m what I like to call a casual blogger. I don’t have a regular schedule, though I try. I don’t write something every week, though I feel bad when I don’t. And I don’t often change my image. I think the previous purple colour and old book header had been around for something like four years (at least). It was possibly longer but time just flies for me lately. I actually woke up this morning thinking it was Sunday and planning to have a nice, slow, quiet cup of coffee, and had actually started making it (in my pajamas), before I realized that it’s Monday. Has that ever happened to you? I’m pretty sure it happens to us all but for some reason this morning was extra disorienting.

Hide me, all this construction is loud!

So, Monday it was, and Monday it is, and now here I am revamping the blog for 2021. I love the clean white background, the new header image (did you know orange is my favourite colour?), and the new tools that I have at my disposal. I’m also adding the By Sapphire Light image to the sidebar so everyone can enjoy its beauty.

There are many reasons for a blog makeover, but for me, this change is about freshness. Making over a blog is like painting your living room, or perhaps your entryway. All the old content is there, the posts are still floundering about, but they have different font now, the background is different. They are suddenly fresh and new again, and it feels just like the year I painted my entryway orange. It put a smile on my face every time I walked into my house. Then later I sold that house and the orange entryway and I’ve missed it ever since. (On a side note, I once drove by the old house and saw that the new owner had repainted the entryway white – how dare they!)

The new blog might take some getting used to (especially if purple was your favourite colour), but don’t worry, it’s still the same me behind the keys. Just with a different haircut.

What do you think?

JEH

I’ve been wanting to dive a bit deeper lately into what I do. Since switching over to full-time writing again last September (September 2020), I’ve been readjusting to the life and schedule of writing full-time. Previously, when I had a high-pressure job, writing was something that I slipped in on the evenings and the weekends, and occasionally at lunch hour. Side note: I actually really miss my lunch hour writing sessions, I used to go to the food court at the mall near my work and people watch and do some Freewriting and it was so great for generating ideas.

The switch from part-time writing to full-time has come with a change in mindset, to be sure. When I had a day job, writing on the side was something I always looked forward too, something that I couldn’t wait to get back to. Now, writing on a schedule that is generally Monday to Friday 8:30 – 3 (with some extra hours on Wednesday nights and weekends) I find that some days I do not want to write. I want to paint or do some art journalling or junk journalling. I want to take a break from my projects. Writing has definitely become more ‘work like’. And my office has become according messy to be sure. Here is a snapshot of my writing desk, which I really need to sort out.

Don’t get me wrong, I still absolutely love writing and I’m so grateful that I’m getting to do this as my job right now, but like any job, the hours can get long. So, there are somethings that I’ve found to break up what can easily become monotonous and repetitive, because I want my writing to continue to be fresh and fun. This includes breaking my regular day into sessions, beginning with freewriting, then moving to drafting, and in the afternoon focusing on rewriting. Of course, depending on what my focus is at the moment, sometimes I spend a whole day drafting, or an entire day rewriting (which has been what I’ve been doing in the past couple weeks).

This past week, as I’ve been getting closer to By Sapphire Light being ready for publishing, I’ve also been doing a few different things. As a self-publisher, I do many ‘jobs’ that aren’t writing, and this actually brings some excitement into my work. So this past week, I met with one of my Beta Readers over coffee to discuss By Sapphire Light and other books, I contacted my cover artist to kick things off for the cover of Book 2 (which is called By Garnet Glow), and I contacted the editor I use to book my slot for editing. All of this side work helps to keep things fresh. I love doodling little sketches to determine what I want my next cover to look like, and I love moving through the process and seeing the progress on the cover from week to week.

This past week has mostly been a break from my main project (which isn’t BSL). During ‘break’ weeks, I spend some time drafting and playing around with short stories, poems, novellas, and new novels that are in ‘developement’. I try to use some of my open time to generate ideas for new projects that I’m excited for. Next week I’m going to move back into crazy drafting mode, but I think I’ll save that description for another blog post.

All in all, I’d call this rather busy week a success (although somehow I never feel that I’ve gotten enough done in a week, even if I’ve managed to finish a new draft or a rewrite). But I’m trying to change my mind set, because I’m both the worker at the boss, I have to ensure I have reasonable expectations. Now, time to tackle the messy desk, and get prepped for next week.

JEH

This is a winter made for reading! I’ve finally been getting around to reading some of the 200+ books on my to-be-read shelves (yes, they are a little bit out of control, yes, I do hope to vlog about this soon).

The other week I finally picked up The Near Witch by V.E.Schwab, as I was looking for a nice, easy read. Something fantastical and magical and well written. Well, V.E. Schwab is a marvelous writer. The Near Witch was a good read. It was like a long fairy tale with a simple, straight forward plot and a lovable heroine that is everything a girl in a backwoods town isn’t supposed to be. I think the cover of this book says something like “One for Neil Gaiman fans”, and I found that was definitely true. This book reminded me a bit of ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’. Also many of the fairy-tale-esque short stories that Gaiman writes.

I did wish for a bit more of the witches though. But that’s just me. Give me all the witch stories you got!

All in all, 4/5 Stars. A nice quick read for anyone who enjoy fantasy.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

JEH