Summer Roundup

Roundup (noun) – 5. a summary, brief listing, or résumé of related facts, figures, or information – Dictionary.com

Well, it’s September 20th today. My calendar tells me that Autumn doesn’t officially start until the 22nd, but we’ve been feeling the chill in the air for a little while here, so it seems like a pretty good time to do my summer roundup.

I had a great time this year. I got some writing done, Dead Water was released on August 8th, I’ve finished the draft of Doomed Seas, which will be my first release of the fall, and I’ve begun my 365K words in a year challenge. I got some reading done, with reviews of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorThe Shadow Hour by Melissa GreyMechanica by Betsy CornwellHarry Potter and the Cursed ChildWith Malice by Eileen CookSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch posted for your perusal. I got a new Kobo Aura One, which I’ve loaded up with books for the upcoming fall season, and I’m going to be posting about my most anticipated Young-Adult Fall 2016 releases tomorrow.

My favourite part of summer is just being able to sit outside, especially if the bugs are mild. It’s tradition for me to go on a trip to the Rocky Mountains, and we did that in August and got some gorgeous photos. Coupled to the mountain trip this year was attending the When Words Collide writing conference in Calgary, which is always an amazingly fun time. I learn a lot, meet knew friends, and always head home with new ideas.

I also love the summer flowers, and as fall approaches and the flowers begin to die off, I find myself missing their bright and surprising beauty. But the beauty of the changing leaves quickly fills in many of the colour gaps, until the brown of the pre-snow takes over, and then I look forward to the crisp white of the first snowfall. But first, here’s a look at my favourite blooms of the year.

What will you miss most about summer?

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

It’s been a slow week for my blog. I apologize. But there was the little teeny-tiny book that was release on Sunday called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition Script): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production(associate link). You may have heard of it. Well, possibly not that full titled, but the shorter one: Harry Potter 8. Well, after a crazy start to my week, I cracked open the golden tome of goodness, and just couldn’t stop reading. I finished the book very quickly, as it’s a play, it’s much quicker than any of J.K Rowling’s previous novels (with the exception of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Quiddich Through The Ages). Anyway, it’s quick. Like lightning. Which meant that after spending a few short hours with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I went into heavy withdrawal.

Again.

IMG_3856.JPG

It’s been a long time since I first got over Harry Potter. And now here I am, feeling like I have to get over him all over again. Only it isn’t so much Harry this time, as Albus, and wasn’t Ron great, too? He’s always great. If you’ve read it, I’m sure you can commiserate with my misery. It was great, but too brief. I want more. I need more. When can I get more?

And these questions don’t seem to go away.

For Rowling, and HP, as always, 5/5 stars.

 

J. E. Hunter is the author of the Black Depths Series. Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch, and Broken Tide, the first two books of the series can be found on  Amazon,  Kobo,  iBooks,  Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The third book, Dark Shores, was released April 1, 2016. The fourth and last book of the Black Depths series, Twisted Currents, will be released in the fall of 2016, after Dead Water and Doomed Seas, two Novellas featuring Caesar.

Self-Publishing VS Publishing House Power

I just recently learned that Amanda Hocking’s Switched Book Trailer stars Natalia Tena from the Harry Potter movies. Now before I say anything else, I’m going to say that I love self-publishing. I’m very glad I chose it (and I’ll get into that in a bit). But seeing this gorgeous trailer made my insides seethe a lot like Ronald Weasley’s must have when that slug-eating spell backfired on him. There is no way that I could ever afford such a big name actress (or any actress for that matter) to star in a trailer for my book as a self-published author. This just seems totally unfair. But that’s the power of a publishing house and that’s why—if I was ever offered the opportunity to work with one—I would probably consider it.

Now, maybe Natalia is just a huge fan of Amanda Hocking’s books and offered to do the movie for free, but there would still be the cost of a director, the set, and the CG butterfly. Even if Natalia and Amanda were best friends, the costuming probably would have cost a fair amount of paper. This is definitely not a cheap movie, even if it’s only a couple of minutes long. I’ve tried making my own book trailer, with a couple pretty pictures and quotes from my book (see below).

I’ve also thought of hiring my niece to star in a book trailer for me. But she hates having her picture taken. In fact, she has expressly forbid it. In other fact, if she ever reads this, she will probably demand that I erase all mention of her. In that case, I’m not talking about her I’m talking about my other niece. What? I don’t have another niece…Hmmm. Well, maybe I can spruce up my mash-up of words and music and pictures. I do have that amazing cover art now.

This brings me to my next point. Cover art is something I think self-publishing has matched the Publishing Houses on. It’s pretty easy these days to hire and amazing artist to capture the image you have in mind. For my Sea-Witch and Broken Tide covers, I’m using Leah Keeler, whom I found on Deviant Art and has been totally amazing to work with. I do the text myself, as that’s a lot more straightforward so long as you have decent editing software. But you do have to be aware of typos. Which leads me to the next point: Editing.

I have some great Beta Readers, who, through many different reads, help me catch the mistakes which slip through my fingers. There are almost always some small typos in books, even in the books put out by the Big Houses. But let’s be honest, self-published books often have more mistakes. However, I don’t always catch the typos in things I read. It’s like that Facebook post where all the words are messed about and you’re supposed to see if you can still read the thing… Well, you can. It’s perfectly legible. And that’s because our minds fill in the gaps. Now, I don’t want to be reading books full of typos, because it pulls me out of the story. And I hate making mistakes, so maybe a professional editor I don’t have to pay $10,000 dollars for would be nice. Though, even if I were to work with a Big House, I’d be paying that back in a sense with the difference in royalties. Still, an amazing editor would be a dream. What I don’t want is someone who’s trying to change my story.

And this is a definite plus for self-publishing. When I submitted Sea-Witch to an agent, I was lucky enough to find someone interested enough to read the entire manuscript and give me feedback. She was nice – a great person – but some of what she suggested just didn’t make sense for my book. But some of it was great advice, and I took it. In the end, we went our separate ways. Maybe it was because I didn’t make all the changes she wanted. But this was my story. I want it to always be my story. Tighten it, correct it, smooth it out, but don’t flatten it. Don’t chop it and tear it and burn it and cover it with dirt to make it fit what you feel the ‘market’ wants. I want my story to be unique. I want my story to be mine. I don’t want to have to sell out to become a best-seller. But seeing that book trailer…well…

Nah.

I’m sure some words floating across the screen to the soundtrack of my own slightly-out-of-practice flute playing will work just as well. Because having Grandma spontaneous turn into a bloodsucking-goblin just isn’t what I had in mind*.

JEH

*That wasn’t a real suggestion, but close!

J. E. Hunter is the author of the Black Depths Series. Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch, and Black Depths, the first two books of the series can be found on AmazonKoboiBooksBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords. The third book, Dark Shores, was released April 1, 2016. The fourth and last book of the Black Depths series, Twisted Currents, will be released in the fall of 2016.