Trying to Commit to a Publishing Schedule

One of the hardest things about self-publishing (at least for me), is committing to a publishing schedule. I’m terrible at picking release dates for my books and achieving that date. Having a day job never helps, since something always comes up that slows down book development, but as I’m currently a full-time writer until July, I’m hoping I can make some big goals and stick to them. It’s been lovely going to cafés and drinking tea, and getting so much work done on projects that I love.

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In the works right now I have The Circlet: Artifacts of Avalum Book 2, which is off with my beta readers. After I get their comments, it will be another round of edits before sending the book to my editor. I’m hoping to have The Circlet released in May.

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This week I finally found the time to compile the Black Depths Boxed Set for the complete series. I whipped together an ebook cover and compiled all the books into one gigantic read. It’s live on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords right now, and should be up on iBooks and Nook soon. If you like to read everything all in one go (or no someone who does), be sure to spread the word.

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I’m slowly picking away at The Chain: Artifacts of Avalum Book 3, and hope to release that in the fall, with a box set of that series to follow after a couple months. There are two books I wrote years ago that I’m planning to clean up, one of which I will release as a one off and the other that I hope to shop around to a small, literary press. Both of those should be complete by May.

What I’m trying to figure out now, is what story idea should I pursue next? I love self-publishing, and I want to write a series that is similar to both Black Depths and Artifacts of Avalum. I would like to get the outlining for this series done before I head back to my day job in July, but, as I’m also working on my short story collection, I’m not sure how much time I will have.

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But, here’s a chance for you to vote. My main debate right now is whether I should write another “Port-hole” fantasy, which means the characters start in this world and travel to a different, fantastical world, (similar to Artifacts), or whether I should write a 100% fantasy, where Earth does not exist (or at least the characters in the book don’t know about Earth, because they have magic, not space travel). Do you prefer fantasy that is connected to our world, or not? Let me know in the comments!

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Young Adult Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

This is one of those books that you hear about forever, and that you know a lot of people love, but you just put it off because something about it doesn’t appeal to you. To me, I didn’t like the cover or the blurb, so I never picked it up. But then one day it was one of the best books available at my library for ebook lending, so I checked it out.

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I loved it! I have to say that I became obsessed. I don’t think, looking back, that the cover or the blurb do the actual book justice. The blurb is really long and doesn’t at all bring up the books mystical elements (just that bit about her mother being clairvoyant really). What drew me into the book was the lay lines and tarot, two things I’ve always been interested in. Also, the blurb makes it sound like the book is all told from Blue’s point of view, but a lot of the book, (I’d say more than half), is told from the boys points of view.

If you like magical mysteries, Raven Boys is definitely a book I’d recommend. And if you like Audiobooks, this one is very well done.

JEH

What I’m Reading: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Young Adult Book Review: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

I read An Ember in the Ashes sometime last year and you can find my review of the first book of the trilogy here. I had been wanting to read A Torch Against the Night for a while, and I finally picked it up in February.

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I love this series. I loved the first book, and I loved the second book too. I can’t wait to find out what will happen in book three.

My favourite parts of this series are the strong characters. I love strong characters, which is probably why I love Helene more than Laia. Laia could be a little bit stronger, though she is stronger than most.

The setting and world building is great. And in A Torch Against the Night, the world expands to new destinations as more is revealed about the world.

The third books in this series (the Ember Quartet), is to be release on June 12th, 2018, and I’ll definitely be picking it up. Have you read this series yet?

JEH

 

What I’m Reading: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Young Adult Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Every so often I take a break from Young Adult Fantasy books and read something along contemporary lines. Most of the time I love these books, but for some reason it’s one genre I just can’t read back to back. Maybe because it gives you so much to think about.

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The Sun is Also a Star follows two immigrant teens in New York, one who is a legal immigrant and one who is not. Their narrative is interwoven with little bits and insights about other side characters, and all together this makes for a magical book. I loved it. The  characters are so real and deep that you just can’t forget them. And all the questions they ask resound with, “hey, I’ve wondered that too”.

And then there’s that fantastically bright cover!

If you’re looking for a contemporary YA read, I would highly recommend this one.

5/5 Stars

JEH

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!

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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

What I’m Reading: Fire and Ice (Spirit Animals Book 4) by Shannon Hale

Middle Grade Fiction Book Review: Fire and Ice (Spirit Animals Book 4) by Shannon Hale

There is one things I really love the Spirit Animal books for, and that is for a quick audiobook on a short road trip, or for a week long audiobook during my Monday to Friday commute. Like a typical Spirit Animal book, this one followed the same process of the Green Cloaks searching for talismans, but it also brought in some deeper elements. My favorite part of Fire and Ice in particular was the setting.

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The audiobook was again read by Nicola Barber, who does a great job with the narration.

JEH

February 2018 Reading Stack

Today is the first day of February, and I thought I would try something new: planning out my reading for the upcoming month. I still haven’t finished a couple books I began in January, Do Not Say We Have Nothing and A Torch Against The Night, both of which I hope to finish this weekend. IMG_5251

Then, since I’ve decided that 2018 is my year of “finishing/reading trilogies” I’m finally going to read Library of Souls. I need to read Deep Work by Cal Newport this month as well, as I prepare for my four months of full-time writing (I can’t wait!). Scarlet, the second book of the Lunar Chronicles is on my list for near the end of the month, and then, in the hopes that I still have time, I’m planning to read Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal as it has been on my shelf forever.

What are you planning on reading this month?

JEH