Time to be a Full-Time Writer

Well, it’s here! And I’m so excited and nervous at the same time. March 1st marked the day I got to leave my full-time day job—for four months. To try out the life of a full time writer. I’m so thankful both to the Saskatchewan Arts Board and my current place of employment for helping this happen. While I wish I could for sure be a full-time writer forever, I’m glad that I get to try it out with the security of having my career to return to. Environmental Engineering can be interesting too. No. Really, it can! I celebrated immediately after leaving the office with a mini-chocolate-caramel cupcake. Mmmmm!

IMG_5325

Last week I worked my way slowly into the writing life by going to coffee, the book store, reading a bit of Annihilation and A Moveable Feast (love them both) and editing a few small projects and sending them off into the world. This work I’m getting into my schedule, which will primarily consist of working on a new, literary short story every couple of weeks, and squeezing in my side projects (novels, genre fiction etc.) when I get a chance.

I’ve worked long and hard to get here. I’ve put a lot of my work out into the world on my own, and I thank all of my readers for their support and the confidence that the purchasing of my books gives me. I’m looking forward to discovering new works during the next four months, and polishing up on my craft and writing technique and style. I plan to post regularly about what I’m up to and how I’m doing (I’m planning on not taking *that many naps, lol). Four months isn’t a long time, but it should be long enough to see if I like being a full-time writer. I have a feeling I’m going to love it.

JEH

February Catch-Up

I know – I’ve been pretty quiet this month. Mostly, I’m busy getting ready for my time as a full time writer. The office is prepped, I’ve outlined stories and projects and books I may work on, in order of importance, and I’ve even tagged some educational reads. I can’t wait to spend the next four months as a full-time writer. I will have no distractions (hopefully), and no concerns (hopefully), other than to get my manuscripts finished.

I’ll be returning to my day job at the beginning of July, and by then I hope to have generated a bunch of amazing material.

IMG_5276

I also had a little blog blitz in January, and an associated giveaway of two copies of The Torc. Those copies are now in the mail, and the winners were notified. The first three letters of their emails were rjs and far, just in case anyone is wondering. I really hope these readers enjoy reading The Torc as much as I enjoyed writing it.

IMG_5283

Last weekend, I spent a lot of time re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I haven’t done much (if any) re-reading in the last couple years, so it great to spend some time with a favorite book. Do you regularly re-read your favorite books?

IMG_5258

JEH

January Round-up: Reading, Writing, and Beyond

The first month of 2018 has been a bit up and down for me. I got five books marked off my Goodreads goal (albeit, one was read mostly in 2017). I’m a good 60% through another couple books which I hope to finish the weekend, including A Torch Against The Night, which I’m loving.

This month has been rather cold. There was one warm week, which I enjoyed immensely, but currently we’re back into the deep freeze-most definitely not my favorite part of the year and already I can’t wait for spring. I did take a quick vacation get-away at the end of the month, and spent a day at the enormous World Water Park pretending that I was in Mexico. Ah, if only I had actually been in Mexico just like last year. Well, there is always next year.

January was a terrible month for writing (I blame this on the cold, since all I want to do is sleep and read). I plan on picking that up next month, and finally get somewhere with The Circlet and The Chain (Artifacts of Avalum Books 2 and 3). Tomorrow, I’m going to post my planned February reading list, and I’ll have a few more quick reviews in the coming weeks too. What have you been reading lately?

dsc04630

JEH

What I’m Reading: Breathe The Well-being Special

Today I thought I’d write about reading something different. Obviously I read a lot of Young Adult Fiction and fantasy, but I also read short stories, poetry, literary fiction, general fiction, science fiction, romance, mystery, horror, children’s books, you name it, and I will read it! Recently, I saw this issue of Breathe in the store and purchased it. I love it. The best part is that it’s a magazine with no advertisements (the drawback to that being that it was really expensive). BUT, I love it. It’s the kind of magazine that I’ll keep like a book.

IMG_5160

Sometimes it’s just nice to read something unexpected. To read something that is unlike all the other things you’ve read lately. That’s why I occasionally pick up a murder mystery, or an issue of National Geographic. I love reading, but to keep it fresh, I need to read outside of my box of favourites.

What have you read lately that’s been a different fit for you? Did you like it?

JEH

A Writer’s Plans for 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a great New Year, and maybe found a bit of time for reading, much like I did. I’m glad that 2018 is here. The end of 2017 found me distracted and blue, and I’m ready for a new start. After a busy 2017 releasing Under Jupiter and The Torc, and drafting The Circlet, it is time for a new plan for 2018.

In 2018, I do plan to finish the Artifacts of Avalum Series, with Books 2 and 3 releasing in Sprint and Winter (most likely). But mostly my writing life will be shifting focus because I got a writing grant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This grant will allow me to take four months off from my day job to focus entirely on writing. For the grant, which I’ve received from the Saskatchewan Arts’ Board (thank you Arts’ Board!), I will be working on a very specific project, namely some literary short stories. This is very different writing that what I normally post about here, but I love it just as much. (If you want a sample of this work, you can find a free story here, at Broken Pencil Magazine, but again, it is very different than the genre fiction I write).

I’m very excited to have dedicated time that is all mine to explore some themes I’ve been pondering for a few years. I start my ‘writing job’ March 1st, and I plan on spending the first couple months of 2018 planning how I will structure my days. I imagine they will involve lots of tea, coffee, and pretty notebooks (and a lot of hard work).

In reading, I set my Goodreads goal yesterday for 53 books in 2018. This is less than the 62 I read in 2017, and for that there are two reasons: 1. I hope to be spending a lot of time writing and rewriting, and 2. I hope to read some longer books. I’ve found over the past year that when I have a goal for reading a lot of books, I tend to choose quicker reads. This means that a lot of books I’ve purchased in the past have been sitting on my shelves for years. (CONFESSION: last year I had 67 books I hadn’t read yet on my upstairs shelves, I now have over 100!!!!). It is definitely time to do some catching up, so I WILL NOT be purchasing new books (probably… well…. maybe… okay, maybe I should be reasonable and say I will not purchase more than 5 new books this year – I hope instead to do some book trading at my local used book store).

So, with piles and piles of books waiting to be read, and a day job to get back to (for the moment), I will once again say Happy New Year, and all the best in 2018. Do you have any big plans you would like to share?

JEH

Happy December Reading

I’m a wee bit behind, but happy December reading everyone! This month I’ve set aside a ton of time to read. I’m currently working my way through the over 1200 page long Oathbringer, and so far it is fabulous. December has been cold, and it’s only going to get colder and frostier. It’s a good thing I have three advent calendars to keep me busy: tea, stories, and chocolate! This month, I hope to have a few posts for you, book reviews, book purchases, and holiday goodness. Do you have special book related plans this month?

JEH

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.

IMG_1189

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