Hi All! Welcome to this week’s weekly creative writing photo prompt! I hope to give you a bit of inspiration to start your creative day, whatever that may involve, be it creative writing, journaling, drawing, painting, or even just something to think about.
Imagine you or your character are standing at this viewpoint. You see someone down in the river who appears to be in trouble. What do you/your character do? Set a timer and write for five minutes.
Hi All! Today I’m here to give you the previously mentioned promised update on how I’m living my creative life. There have been a lot of changes recently, which have all been planned for, but which create discord none-the-less.
Last year, I was lucky enough to have funding, savings, and time to take a year off from the regular office-life work-life and be my own boss for a full year. I spent that year mostly working on a literary novel project that I’m still fiddling around with. To be honest, my year of being a full-time writer wasn’t everything I’d hoped and expected it would be, mostly due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I’d hope that during my full-time writing year I’d be able to still meet face-to-face with my writing group, go out to cafés and spend mornings writing, visit regularly with friends and family, but thanks to restrictions and the virus, I spent a lot more time isolated in my home office than I really wanted.
I know some writers would have absolutely loved this. But I guess I’m not quite as introverted as I thought, and I really missed having coworkers. That’s why I was glad to get back to a real office this September. Knowing that I was heading back to a corporate job meant rushing to focus in on writing projects and get more stuff done this summer. And also to focus in on reading some books. Because what tends to suffer most when I have a full-time corporate job is my reading and writing time. So naturally, one of the first things to get pushed to the side was this blog.
Now that I’m settled back into the office life (and happy to have a regular paycheque again), I’m trying to squeeze out a bit of time for blogging. I’m also working on writing books 2 and 3 of The Gemology Saga. The first book, By Sapphire Light, I released earlier this year. I was hoping to have already finished both book 2 and 3, but my literary book project took a lot more time and energy than I’d planned for. But I’m glad I did it and pushed myself to do that project, because I do love it, even though I worry it’s not quite right yet.
So why not continuing being a full-time writer forever, you ask? Well, the number one answer to that question is money. While I make some money from writing, my writing earnings are far from my six-figure corporate earnings (which also come with plenty of benefits). But this past year has also taught me it’s about stimulation. What I lacked most of all when I was at home writing everyday by myself (in a world locked in by coronavirus), was that I wasn’t stimulated enough. I am not a high-energy individual (at least compared to a lot of people I know), but I do have at least medium energy, and that energy needs new interests and challenges. I find it much easier to work 8 hours a day at my corporate job where I have last-minute items constantly thrown at me, challenges that need to be thought out and overcome, and that’s very different than the slower-pace of writing challenges that I sometimes need to think over for days or weeks (or maybe I just let myself have this much time when I shouldn’t). I used to think that I absolutely, 100% wanted to be a full-time writer. But now I know I don’t. But I do, however, also know I don’t want to be an absolutely, 100%, corporate employee forever either. Which is why I have my own “unconventional” work-life plan, which is to currently take term positions, help companies out when they need someone to fill a shorter-term vacancy (such as a year-long maternity leave), and in between my corporate stints, to take some 100% dedicated time for writing.
So, for now, that’s where I’m at: transitioning once more into part-time writer. I have a long list of projects I want to get to, and a lot less time to complete them in, but already I’m feeling like I’m making better use of my time. And for now, I think I’ll leave it at that. But don’t worry, I have plenty more posts planned about building a creative life that works for you.
Hi All! Welcome to this latest post in my What I’m Reading series.Today I’m discussing my review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This fantasy novel, found in the adult section of the bookstore, follows the story of Agnieszka. Agnieszka is born in a village near a deadly, creepy, and fantasic wood. Although this book is sold in the adult section, this book is a great read for those who love young adult fantasy. This is one of those books where the character is quite young, learning about the world, and setting foot out in the world alone for the first time. I think the reason that this book is shelved as adult versus young adult is because the writing is very high caliber, and the book and plot have a thickness that many young adult books are often missing.
But enough about that. Let’s get to the good stuff. I loved this book. It had a creepy, haunted wood vibe that just drew me right in. The wood was just as much a character in this novel as Agnieszka, and I loved them both. Agnieszka is a strong, determined character who learns she has magical powers, and she must learn to use those magical powers if she is going to save her village, family, and friends, from the hungry wood that grows nearer every year.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a great, atmospheric reads. It’s the kind of book that swallows you whole and pulls you entirely into the world, something I love in a magic book. Uprooted is a fairytale retelling, and there are many hidden gems from well-known fairytales hidden in the book. But while loosely based on fairytales, this book is a unique edition to the fairytale retelling-genre. There are many fairytale retelling books that fall under the YA umbrella, but what I really enjoyed about Uprooted is that this is adult fiction. The main character might be young, but she is mature, and I loved that.
Welcome to this weeks photo creative writing prompt for a bit of inspiration for your creative projects.
Think of a character. Put your character on a motorbike heading down this hill. Do they following the recommended speed, or do they blow past it. What happens? Set the time for ten minutes and write this scene.
Looking for some creative writing inspiration? Welcome to this weeks photo creative writing prompt.
Take a look at the photo below. How does the flower make you feel? Do you see it as beautiful or ugly? Sweet or Sharp? A weed or remarkable piece of nature that should be allowed to thrive? Think of a character. Will they fight to save this weed from destruction, or will they fight to destroy it? Write that scene. Set a timer and write for five minutes.
I know, it’s a been a long time—a really long time—since I’ve blogged. I’ve got a good reason for that, which I’ll get into during another post, because today I want to talk about one of my latest reads: Ghost of a Summoning by J.E. McDonald, because today just happens to be its launch day. So welcome to my book review of Ghost of a Summoning.
I jumped at the chance to review Ghost of a Summoning by J.E. McDonald, who happens to be a friend of mine, as well as a really great writer. Ghost of a Summoning is J.E. McDonald’s third book, and is both a fabulous paranormal romance and the third book in the Wickwood Chronicles. While the Wickwood Chronicles is a series, each book features a different duo, which makes it easy to jump in at any point.
Ghost of a Summoning follows Aubrey, a sweet, antique store owner with a ghost for a best friend, and Roman, a darkly mysterious demon hunter who has reason to believe Aubrey will be end of Wickwood.
Right from the start, both Aubrey and Roman charmed their way into my heart. I’ve honestly never wanted to own an antique store more. This wickedly compelling story is full of action and romantic tension and had enough mystery to keep me flipping the pages well past my regular bedtime. This book also has guest appearances by some of my favorite characters from the previous books, and of course features Wickwood, a quaint town with a paranormal twist that I’d love to visit.
But the real draw of this story is the way the romance builds between Aubrey and Roman, both of which are scared to get close to others. But their romance is sweet, sexy, and utterly believable. And while Aubrey and Roman are trying to figure out one another and just how they feel, Roman is also trying to determine how an amazing woman like Aubrey could cause the end of the world. I’m not going to give anything away, but I will tell you that the book will have you guessing right until the end.
This summer has been hot and dry, perfect for sitting still and getting through a stack of books sitting idly on my To Be Read shelf. Yes, my stack is overwhelming, toppling, and slightly dangerous, but I’m willing to risk pulling more than a few books from it this summer.
A few weeks ago I was in the mood for a great science fiction read, so I picked up the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. The original four novella set was exactly what I needed. My boxed set came with the first four stories in series: All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy. In all of these books, Murderbot was funny, kind (in a muderbot-y way), and just all-around great poolside company.
Murderbot is about a rogue security ‘robot’, who is half organic (human) and half robot. The human side is strong in this one, and all kind of interesting and hilarious commentary ensues when this soap opera-loving bot decides to work only for himself. Because these novels are so short, they are quick reads. Perfect for summer days and iced tea. There is a lot of action, a lot of intrigue, and a lot of unique insight into the bot mindset. If there is one thing Muderbot does really well, it’s making you think about just what it means to be human.
Now that I’ve finished my four-book boxed set, I’ve ordered the next two books in the series, which, hopefully, are on their way in the mail right now! I cannot wait to get back to Muderbot, and am more than excited to linger in his world a little longer.
Apologies for my brief absence. Over the past couple of months, I was completely wrapped up finishing a draft of a large project. That project is wrapped up (or at least the third draft of it is). I hope to get back to it in the fall, but for now, it is summer. And for the season, I thought I’d share with you an update on my summer and writing life.
This summer I’m very lucky. I don’t have a boss or a day job—I’m just a writer. And, as I’ve wrapped up the project that has consumed my life for the past ten months, I’m also free to explore.
I’d have to say that one of the reasons I’m drawn to the writing life is the freedom to explore. As a writer of multiple genres, I often go where my imagination takes me. I’d say I generally have too many ideas. I’m easily drawn down the rabbit hole of things I come across that I find interesting. When I’m working on one project, I find it difficult to concentrate and blank out all the interesting distractions around me. Which is why I’m so glad it’s summer!
We’ve already gotten out and about a bit this summer. Exploring some new to us places. And this July and August we’ll be exploring more. I’m also hoping to begin the rewrite of the second Gemology Saga book, the draft of which I finished this spring and have left largely untouched. I’m also hopeful (though don’t really expect) to draft the third Gemology Saga book this summer.
I know there are many writers and writing coaches out there that say it is important to “write every day,” but I met a writer who once told me they take two months off every summer because in summer it is “impossible to focus on writing”. I have to say, I agree with both sides. My summer writing life involves me taking a lot of time off, but at the same time I keep doing things that are “writing related”, if not writing itself.
First, I read. I have so many reading plans for this summer. Currently I’m reading the Murderbot Diaries (I love Murderbot!) by Martha Wells. I’m on a brief break of reading nearly everything that Diane Johnson ever wrote. I read Le Divorce because it is one of the books recommended in Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and I absolutely loved it. This led me to order all the Diane Johnson books I could find. So I now have a nice stack beside my bed.
Second, I journal. I don’t journal every day. But if I skip a day or two my anxieties build up and I find myself needing to get back to the page. My journaling, however, is not fiction writing. It’s more life writing or planning writing.
Third, I daydream.
So, you can see I’m not writing fiction much. But I find by taking space in the summertime, my writing life is refreshed. What happens is new ideas begin to pop into my head. And then I start writing the new ideas down. And eventually, one idea grips me so firmly that it becomes my next project.
So, that’s where I’m at. This means that hopefully I’ll also get around to blogging—and vlogging—more. And will have more to share with you soon.
I’m hosting a By Sapphire Light Goodreads Giveaway! I’m so excited to give readers the chance to enter to win a free ebook of By Sapphire Light. By Sapphire Light is the first book in my young adult steampunk fantasy series, The Gemology Saga! Contest entries opened today and run until May 15th, 2021. To enter, follow the link below and sign in with your Goodreads account. By Sapphire Light is a fantastic book for lovers of young adult fantasy fiction and authors such as Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Mass, or for anyone who loves steampunk and just can’t get enough—because, let’s be honest, there isn’t enough steampunk out there.
Forgot what By Sapphire Light is about? No problem. Here’s the blurb:
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 By Sapphire Light Goodreads giveaway is for 100 copies of the book, so spread the word and good luck!
Today is a fantastic day here in Saskatoon, warm, sunny, and nothing but blue sky. So it felt like a great day to launch my VLOG. I’ve had this a ‘to-do’ on my list for sometime. And today I actually got around to record a ‘bit about me’ type video in my office, and now I have a VLOG! Now, I just recorded this on my phone and don’t have any special equipment, so I hope that the quality is okay. The video is up on my YouTube Channel, which is quite bare yet, but I’m planning to add more content over the next weeks and months.
I’m a bit nervous about the VLOG, to be honest. But over the past few months I’ve become addicted to YouTube and thought it would just be a fun, creative thing to make some videos and share a lit bit more about myself and my writing with the world. So, if you want to learn a bit more about J.E. Hunter, this is the place.
To get to my YouTube Channel, you can either click on my picture above, or you can find me by click this link here. On my channel, I hope to talk a lot about writing, books, and creativity. Is there anything you will like to see me record a video of? Do you have any burning questions about the Black Depths or Artifacts of Avalum series? If so, drop me a comment below and I’ll see what I can do.