My 2017 GoodReads Reading Challenge Update – Halfway There!

I love GoodReads, and I love the Annual Reading Challenge. This year, I’ve set my goal at 60 books. Well, June 30th is approaching and I’ve now completed 31 books, which puts me 2 books ahead of schedule.

So far, my favourite read of 2017 has been The Girl Who Drank The Moon. I seriously love this book and it is now on my absolute favourites list along with books like The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Predjudice, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, and The Historian. Yeah, I know, my list is a complete mish-mash of genres. I could also go on listing my absolute favourite books, but I think I’ll save that for another time.

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In the past couple weeks, I’ve finished reading a few books I haven’t blogged about, mostly because I try to only blog about middle-grade and Young Adult books, though my reading preference is much more broad than that. I finished Career of Evil on audiobook (loved it!) and And The Birds Rained Down (a 2015 Canada Reads pick). I’m into reading Canadian Fiction as Canada’s 150th birthday is coming up July 1st!

Currently, I’m reading a few different books (I very rarely read one at a time). I have a bunch of half-read books, and I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll have surpassed my 60 book goal (70 would be lovely). But I have a lot of hefty picks waiting on my TBR shelf.

Here’s hoping! What are you reading?

JEH

 

The New Thing I’m Working On: The Torc Progress #2

This past week I was focused on getting Under Jupiter up on the Kindle store. So, for a few days, I stopped writing The Torc. And I missed it! But now that UJ is up, I can get back into writing my new obsession. I’m around 1/3 finished the draft, and while I have a general outline, there are enough places where I can’t wait to be surprised by what the characters do. I’m still really excited by this idea. And I’m also very excited for the cover art. See the tiny preview below.

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This week I’m giving you a preview of the colour scheme being use. I love it. I adore purple. My absolute favourite colour is orange, but purple is a close second. And probably makes for a better cover. Which do you think is better? I remember as a kid that a lot of little girls hated orange. Like made that sour lemon face whenever they were forced to accept orange as the last option (only marker left). But orange reminds me of fruit, flowers and sunsets, all beautiful things. Purple reminds me of flowers too, but also luxurious fabrics and amethyst, one of my favourite stones.

Writing this week is going to be focused on word count. I’ll give you an update regarding my goal tomorrow, and then you’ll know why.

JEH

A Brief Review of the Kindle Scout Program

If you’ve been following along on my self-publishing journey of my latest novel, Under Jupiter, then you already know that I submitted it to Kindle Scout. Well, the news is in and Under Jupiter was not selected for publication by Kindle Press. In all honesty, I didn’t expect it to be. Why? Because during my 30-day campaign and scout participation, I came to a firm conclusion on one thing: Kindle Press prefers highly popular fiction. And guess what, a teen novel about colonizing the solar system is not popular fiction.

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Overall, I had a good Scout experience. It was fun and addicting to follow along with my daily page views, and I liked seeing my book at the top of the Hot and Trending list. Also, I nominated books like mad during my 30 day sprint, since I was on the website anyway, and I ‘won’ three new e-books, which should be released sometime in the near future. I found Kindle Scout to be a fun website as a reader, since it takes no time at all to scan and nominate your favorite proposed titles.

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As a writer, I found Kindle Scout to be slightly beneficial to my exposure. My books had slightly more downloads while my latest work was up on Kindle Scout (which I think is partially due to more readers who don’t know me seeing my name). I’m planning to release Under Jupiter this weekend, at which time Kindle Scout will send an email out those people who nominated my book and let them know it is for sale. I’ll post an update after I’ve done this to say whether or not I get a sales boost from that feature.

As for what’s next, I’m working away on The Torc. Would I submit it to the Kindle Scout website? Probably not, because I felt Kindle Scout mostly just added a bit of a delay to my release schedule, and I’m too excited to share The Torc with the world.

What do you think? Do you like reviewing book previews on Kindle Scout?

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #26

Something has changed with the arrival of summer, and unfortunately that appears to be the amount of time I have for blogging and writing. I’ve been doing a miserable job keeping up here, and also keeping up with my 1,000 words a day goal. It’s been off and on lately. The good news is that if I forget one day, I tend to remember and prioritize it the next. I’ve found a few hours this weekend to dedicate to a “mini-marathon” and maybe I will somehow be able to catch up on the 23,000 words I’m behind on. If I could manage to catch up, that would mean I’d almost completed the draft of The Torc, the new thing I’m working on. Here’s a look at my word count chart for the beginning of June:

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The large number on the right is my current deficit. I realized the other day that if I was caught up, I would have less than 100,000 words to write before reaching my goal! That makes me feel pretty close to achieving my target with approximately 3 months to go. Time is ticking away quickly and there is still a lot I want to get done before September 1st, when my goal will shift to rewriting, though I plan on continuing to draft a lot, since drafting makes me happier than rewrites.

My day job has kept me busy, so busy that I haven’t even had time to read much, though I was traveling so I did finish a couple audiobooks. Being busy hasn’t stopped me from buying more books to read either. Or planning to read more books. I was terribly behind on my GoodReads entries, and just paused to enter all my recent reads. The funny thing is that I feel like I’ve missed entering a book, but if I have, I don’t know which one. This is why I use GoodReads, because otherwise I forget what I’ve read! Here’s a shot of some new books in my garden. They’re so pretty.

So, after catching up on my GoodReads entries, I’m still two books ahead of my GR goals, which is awesome. I wound’t be anywhere close if I hadn’t listened to so many audiobooks this year, but listening to books at the gym has been inspiring both for my reading and writing, and also for working out. My current listen is Graceling, which i’ve just started. It will probably take me a while to get through as it is 11 hours, and I don’t have any solo road trips planned, though I do have a family trip.

Alright, so for the next week, my goal is to catch up on blogging, aim for 1,500 words a day, and just continuing enjoying books. What are your plans?

JEH

The New Thing I’m Working On: The Torc Progress #1

Alright, I always tell myself that I will blog more about my works in progress, but then I don’t. Well, today I’m changing that. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working hard on a new project, which I’m calling The Torc at the moment, but that might change.So far, the project is going fantastic! I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a new world and new characters in a long time. So it feels really good to be working on something I’m passionate about.

I’m so excited about this project that I even sketched the cover, sent my horrible drawing to my favorite artist, and commissioned the cover, even though I’m not done the draft! I love that I’m getting the art done early. The weekly previews serve to inspire my writing. Here’s your preview of the concept (please forgive my horrible drawing).

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So this project, The Torc, is going to be at least a three book arc, but it may be more. I’m not sure yet. I do have the first three books outlined. I’m so excited that I know I could finish drafting them all in a month if I didn’t have a day job (unfortunately, I do, which means it will likely take me the rest of the year to finish the drafts. Ah well, at least I’m loving the process!

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #25

Well, I’m not going to post my word count table this week, because I’m feeling pretty horrible about it. Overall, I’m still 18,000 words behind my target. The good news is that I haven’t fallen any further behind this week. I’ve come to realize a few things about achieving a daily writing target:

  1. Writing multiple times in a day helps me reach my 1,000 words/day goal. I find in one “sitting” I can easily write 600 words. Which translates to needing a minimum of 2 writing sessions in a day (preferably morning and night).
  2. Focusing on how behind I am only makes me not feel like writing. It is much easier if I remind myself that I’ve already written well over 200,000 words since September 1, 2017! Go me!
  3. Trying to catch up (write 18,000 words) in one day or one weekend is an unachievable goal with how my life is currently set up (day job, kids, etc.). It works much better if I just tell myself to keep pushing for another couple minutes after I reach my 1,000 word goal. This often gets me to 1,100 or even 1,600 words in a sitting. Which means that I’m slowly catching up, bit by bit.

So, that’s what I’ve learned this week, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m still distracted by my Kindle Scout Campaign for Under Jupiter. I’ve got 4 Days left and I haven’t made it onto the Hot and Trending list for even a single house. Please help me out by nominating if you haven’t done so already. This is your shot at getting my book for free, and I will be eternally grateful. Just go here.

Under Jupiter by J.E. Hunter INSTAGRAM TEASER

Other good news is that I’ve finally broken through my writer’s block and found an idea that I love. I’m going to share some details as I work on it. It’s kept my word count high this week, and so far the story is lovely and so fun to write. I can’t wait to share more details with you.

Also, I’ve been doing a bit of gardening (and less going to the gym, but I figure all that squatting time counts for something, right?). Here’s some pictures of my flower boxes.

Have a great week!

JEH

Whoops… And Other Things

Well, it has apparently been a while since I posted here! I’m behind on posting reviews of what I’ve been reading, and I’m behind on writing updates. My apologies. I have a couple of book discussions coming up in the next couple of days, and another update on my writing goals and Kindle Scout Campaign.  But meanwhile, I thought I would share some pictures of spring blooms. Besides books, flowers are one of my favorite things, beaten only by rainbows and waterfalls when it comes to nature. They smell beautiful too, alas, I can’t share that online.