Books In Strange Places

I have that wonderful spring feeling again! Yesterday it was 7 above, things were melting, and I went out for a walk in weather was finally incapable of freezing me to death in hours. I had books on my mind (of course), and thought, you know, that my upcoming reads would probably like to get some fresh air too, so I decided to do a little book photo shoot for  your enjoyment. Featured books are ones I’m currently reading or am hoping to get to soon. But, of course, there’s never enough time for reading.

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My current “On the Go” Read, What Light by Jay Asher
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Air Awakens by Elise Kova
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Hiding the Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
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A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir
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Reading On The Go, From Great Heights
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A Reader’s Self-Portrait

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #21

Okay, this week wasn’t as good as last week. The main reason for that is I wrote nothing one day because I was too addicted to reading The Girl on the Train. I consciously made this choice, but I’m still wondering if that makes it okay or not. I did write more the next day to make up for it, as you can see on the chart. I made it to the gym twice, and I also made it out to writing group for a weekly writing session, where I got a lot of work done on Under Jupiter. I also found a new favourite tea collection which is currently fuelling my writing session.

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From the chart, you can also see that I did better this week at concentrating on Under Jupiter. I’m working on it at the moment, actually, but am taking a quick break to write this blog that I was supposed to write yesterday. Oops! Ah well, I have some more interesting blogs coming up for you next week, including more book discussions and fabulous pictures. Like this picture of the candle and pretty books sitting beside me on my desk.

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This coming week, I’m expecting to see a high word count. Mostly because I need to push to finish Under Jupiter, and a couple other projects I’d like to self-pub soon, because I love them and I’m excited to share them, and I’m also kind of addicted to self-publishing. Yes, you heard that right.

Alright, time to get back to the real work. I hope you had a good week, and I’ll chat soon.

JEH

Choosing Your Next Great Read

Last Friday I spent all day absorbed in a book. it was so good that I just could not put it down. I mean, I did have to actually put it down now and again, but i picked it up immediately as soon as I was able. That book was The Girl on the Train. I loved it, but I’m not going to review it on here, because it is out of the norm for what I do review. What I am going to talk about is how to choose your next great read after having an epic-ly good time reading something else. Or rather, how I choose my next great read. Especially on a snow-bound weekend.

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Every reader is familiar with that post-good-book lull. The, ‘that was fun but now what’ blues. I find they always leave me floundering. How do I choose my next book? I have an easier time choosing my next read after finishing something okay or so-so. I have a really easy time choosing my next read after reading something I didn’t particularly enjoy (because anything seems entertaining after that). But after reading a really great book…. SIGH… I flounder.

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After finishing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I picked up about five different novels, read a paragraph or two, flipped through the pages and debated. What did I want to read now? I already had a stack of books next to my bed, the ‘read-next’ stack, which I order and rearrange on a regular basis. In the stack was, The Invasion of the Tearling, Steelheart, Seven Dead Pirates, Jane Eyre (which has been waiting half finished for over a year now), Fate of Flames, Splintered, and What Light. So I bounced, from book to book to book attempting to find something to hold my attention.

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It might have been easier to just toss a coin. But it probably wouldn’t have been as fun. I read the first chapter of Fate of Flames, and enjoyed it, but it’s an e-book, and I decided I felt like reading a paper book. I read a few pages of The Invasion of the Tearling, but discovered I needed something faster paced following The Girl on the Train. I read a little bit more of What Light, which I’ve been slowly reading on my phone whenever I’m on the move, but couldn’t commit to it fully. I continued to ignore my beautiful copy of Jane Eyre because no matter what, I always just seem to feel too tired to pick it up. Then I picked up Steelheart and was like I FOUND IT.

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So, how do you choose your next great read?

JEH

Stories and Adventure

Yesterday was one of those beautifully warm spring days, so I took the kids out for a mini-adventure. It reminded me that as a writer, how important it is to never stop experiencing, even if the experience—or maybe especially if—the experience is just around the corner. I put on my white mukluks, and off we went to the gutted truck I’d been seeing from the road for months.

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Not far from my house, the city is in the process of building a new dog park, which meant that in the fall they stripped out some of the natural woods to make a few walking paths. We used to go adventuring in the woods, when they were a bigger, more mysterious tangle, and never came up on the truck cab that was revealed during construction.

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Adventures come in all shapes and sizes and I’ve done a lot of traveling and a lot of adventuring. Some of these adventures have made it into my writing, and others are waiting to be spun into tales, and some are just journal entries in my photo books. But there are so many adventures I’ve had that just make me who I am, that make my characters who they are, and that just make me love life. So, we had a little adventure, I love it, I covered my boots in mud, and we came home and had a snack.

Yesterday was a great day, not just because of the adventure but because I bought myself that reward I discussed in my previous post for making it to the halfway point in my writing 365,000 words in a year goal. I bought myself a copy of Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth, which happened to be on sale at Costco. Yay, cheap books! And a sweater. Just don’t tell my husband. Wait, my husband reads this blog… too late! So, I have a new book on my shelf, which I likely won’t get around to reading for a while. It has a nice cover, but and even nicer cover if you take the wrapping off. If you haven’t done that and check it out, do. I won’t ruin the surprise by posting a picture here.

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I’m just going to look at it and smile.

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #19

Ah, let’s just start this post off with a nice cup of tea, shall we?

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Ah, that’s better! *refreshed*

Right, well. What have I been up to lately? Writing, writing, writing. Though I still haven’t got up to my target word count. I’m almost exactly halfway through this personal challenge, and I’m feeling pretty darn good about what I have accomplished so far this year. As you can see from the table below, I’ve begun tracking which projects I’m working on when. Hopefully this will help me develop more consistency with projects, and not jump around so much. I’m supposed to be focusing on UJ, which is a rewrite, which means that somedays I have to write other things to get my 1,000. The good thing about my rewriting process is that I tend to add words. I write clean, plain first drafts, and fill things up with detail on the second go around. I started rewriting UJ at around  63,000 words, and already I’m up over 67,700 words.

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As for the gym, I know I haven’t updated that one in a while, but I have been going more regularly, usually at least two times a week. I’m still listening to audiobooks when I’m there, and I love it. I’ll have an audiobook review up this weekend.

As for my GoodReads goal, I set it for 60 books this year and I’ve so far finished 9 books, and GoodReads tells me I’m one book ahead. Yay, me! I’m also nearly finished two other books so I should be at eleven books soon.

Going back to the abbreviations above, I’m sure you’re all dying to hear the name of my new novel. Well, it’ll be here on the weekend, too. I can’t wait to reveal it.

JEH

365K in Year Update #18

Well, this past week was horrible for writing. In part because I went on a mini-vacation to a friends farm where we went ice fishing. It was a great time but I really let my word count slide. screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-3-00-35-pm

As you can see, as off a couple days ago I am 6K behind my goal. This means I have some busy days ahead. I’m not going to list all of my excuses here, because they are just excuses. Even though I’m busy and stressed and life is crazy, writing 1K a day takes me around 30 minutes and makes me feel better. I should be doing it, but sometimes I just don’t. But I’m going to do better, because this goal means a lot to me. Last night I sat down with my notebook and wrote 1K, the day before I managed around 500 words. I’m going to keep pushing on this, and I’m really enjoying the return to writing by hand. There is just something indescribable about the hand-mind-creative connection when writing with pen and paper. Writing is not the same on the computer, at least not for me. It isn’t near as immersive, and I find my worlds aren’t as richly detailed.

Below are a few amazing pictures from my ice fishing trip. I caught two fish and they tasted amazing! It was nice to do something fun in the winter, other than just sitting inside and reading that is. I was a guest at my wonderful friends farm, which you can read more about on her blog, North Chick Farm Shop. It was a great weekend. What did you get up to?

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On the way. Reading on the drive. 
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The cutest farm kitten.

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The lucky hole
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Fishing outside.
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The frozen lake.
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Post fishing reading and cofffe.
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Cutest birdhouse.

JEH

365K in a Year Update #17

Okay, I’m hoping I’m right about the number, but in the long run, I’m thinking that the update # doesn’t matter.

This is the first week that I’m really struggling with my word count. I’m about 2,500 words behind my goal at this point. I should be almost at 160,000 words, but I’m not. I feel kind of down about this but I’m trying to be understanding at the same time. Day to day life has been very stressful as of late. In between taking care of people I love, my day job, and trying to find a few moments here and there to relax and do stress relieving things and get some sleep, I’ve been trying to squeeze in some writing. Obviously I’m not squeezing enough. Now I’m dreading the attempt to catch up and maybe even get a little bit ahead again. It’s important to me that I accomplish this goal, because there are so many stories that I want to tell. I have a ton of books planned and it feels heavy when I’m stuck carrying all these stories around. It’s the best feeling to get them out.

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Out, Out damn stories!

Yesterday, I read Sarah J. Mass’s newsletter, in which she discusses wring a 105,000K book in 5DAYS! I cannot begin to express how jealous I am. I wish I had the time to cloister myself away and get some stuff done. Lately, I’ve barely been feeling like I have five minutes, and even when I actually do, I’ve been mentally drained. The good news is that I have been getting SOME writing done. And also, I’m taking a mini-vacay this weekend: I’m going ice fishing! Maybe this will be just what I need to rejuvenate my writing mojo. I’m also finding that rewriting is easier than drafting at the moment, which is good news for my next project! Big announcement on that one tomorrow.

Other good news this week was that I went to my favorite local book store yesterday, and I saw this:

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There was an entire end-shelf display dedicated to my books! I was so incredibly happy. This really makes me feel like the Black Depths series was a success. I can’t wait to launch my next big project.

What have you been up to?

JEH