The Torc Cover Art Reveal

I’ve finally got to a good place with my new project, The Torc, and I’m hoping it will be ready for readers in a couple of months. Do you know what else is ready? The cover! Isn’t it beautiful? The art work was once again done by Leah Keeler. I love it, it might be my favourite so far, though the Twisted Currents cover is tough competition!

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Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #29

Well, this is it. I’m getting near to the end. There will be one more post after this one, to end on a nice round number, and then this series, and hopefully my goal, will be complete.

As it stands right now, I’m 43,767 words behind my target of 365,000, and I have until September 4th to get there! Now, I would be panicking if I hadn’t already signed up for the 3-Day Novel Wring Contest and have the entire long weekend booked off for writing. Not to mention that since I’ve returned from vacation, I’ve also returned to my writing groove.

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At the moment, I’m catching up on blogging (obviously), and then I’m going to get today’s words wrapped up, hopefully with a couple more than the required 1,000, so that I can make a dent in my deficit. Now that I’m nearing the end of my writing year, I’m realizing what a huge goal I set myself—especially considering that I have a full time day job and two small children. And then there is my 60 book reading goal for 2017! Next year I’m already planning to take it a bit easier, but more on that later. Time to get my daily writing done, sone enough it will be time to relax.

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 #24

If you’re caught up on my blog then you know that I spent this past weekend at a writing retreat. I had all sorts of dreams about pounding out 30,000 words in one weekend. But what actually happened was that I finished about 10% of that goal, and spent a lot of time workshopping, rewriting, and reading Jane Eyre instead. But the retreat location was perfect: quiet, remote, and with no real distractions (though they did still have wifi). Below are a couple of pictures from the location, including a gorgeous sunset (which was one of the few distractions, good thing it was short lived!)

Where I’ve been struggling with my writing goals is TIME. I haven’t been setting aside the approximate 30 minutes a day to get my 1,000 words done. I keep telling myself that I’ll have “a big weekend” and get back on target, and then it doesn’t happen. The thing about writing on the weekend is that there is always something better to do be doing, whether that’s hanging out with friends or family, going to the farmer’s market, jogging, or checking out a new movie or season on Netflix. Since September, I’ve noticed that I write more on the weekdays, the same days that I do my day job, and it’s because there is less distraction. While I spent 8 hours in my office, once that’s done I often come home, which leaves me with a lot of time to get my word count in. On the weekends I often go out, leaving me with too much distraction and too little focus. I guess I’ll have to spend the next few months improving this habit. Below is a look at my word counts since May 1st.

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I have to admit that this week I’ve also been distracted by my KindleScout campaign for Under Jupiter. If you haven’t had the time to nominate the book, that’s alright. But please head over and click the big blue button sometime before May 29th. You will get my eternal thanks, a shot at getting a free copy, and let’s be honest, each book I eventually sell goes a long way toward keeping this blog running!

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Now that I’ve finished Under Jupiter, my 365,000 word writing goal has turned to focus on two of the other projects that were on my initial list of five: Half-Moon Blood, which is something I’m writing for WattPad, and MF (which still goes by a code name), a stand-alone epic fantasy.

How’s your word count going?

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #23

Wow, it’s been almost a month since I’ve given and update on my writing goals! I started this massive goal in September, with a huge kick start thanks to the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest. But this past month has been so crazy with preparing Under Jupiter for submission to Kindle Scout that I’ve fallen pretty far behind in my goal. Here’s a look at my tracking sheet for the past couple of weeks:

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As you can see, I’m over 12,000 words behind! The good news is that I’m finishing up Under Jupiter over the next 3-4 days, and then I can get back to drafting for a while. I’m looking forward to some new projects. The last stages of rewriting and editing are all consuming for me. I don’t like to be taken away from the story, or distracted, since it pulls from my ability to concentrate on the continuity of the story. The closer I get to finishing, the more consumed I become.

But I still took time last weekend to go on a mini-road trip to the most creepy, crooked wood I’ve seen. We drove up to The Crooked Bush, Saskatchewan. Here are a couple pictures, which don’t do it justice by far.

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It’s great fodder for a future story. I’ll have to see if anything comes of it.

JEH