Road Trips and Toadstools

Recently, I went on a ten day road trip, which began with the conference I recently blogged about (if you haven’t gone to a writing conference and you’re a writer-Go!-they are amazing). Road trips too, can be an amazing source of creative inspiration. But they are also busy, so of course, I got little to know work done.

But what I did get was a great idea for the book I’m going to write for the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest, which runs from September 2nd to 4th this year. I’m at that stage where I’m sorting out characters and names and dramatic points, but it should, hopefully, come together in time.

Below are a few of my favorite scenic pictures I captured on my iPhone during the road trip. I took a load of pictures, most of which are still on my digital camera and have yet to be reviewed. I know I took more than a couple photos for inspiration. Mostly, I loved the woods.

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!

Under Jupiter by J.E. Hunter INSTAGRAM TEASER

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

Books In Strange Places

I have that wonderful spring feeling again! Yesterday it was 7 above, things were melting, and I went out for a walk in weather was finally incapable of freezing me to death in hours. I had books on my mind (of course), and thought, you know, that my upcoming reads would probably like to get some fresh air too, so I decided to do a little book photo shoot for  your enjoyment. Featured books are ones I’m currently reading or am hoping to get to soon. But, of course, there’s never enough time for reading.

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My current “On the Go” Read, What Light by Jay Asher
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Air Awakens by Elise Kova
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Hiding the Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
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A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir
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Reading On The Go, From Great Heights
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A Reader’s Self-Portrait

JEH

Stories and Adventure

Yesterday was one of those beautifully warm spring days, so I took the kids out for a mini-adventure. It reminded me that as a writer, how important it is to never stop experiencing, even if the experience—or maybe especially if—the experience is just around the corner. I put on my white mukluks, and off we went to the gutted truck I’d been seeing from the road for months.

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Not far from my house, the city is in the process of building a new dog park, which meant that in the fall they stripped out some of the natural woods to make a few walking paths. We used to go adventuring in the woods, when they were a bigger, more mysterious tangle, and never came up on the truck cab that was revealed during construction.

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Adventures come in all shapes and sizes and I’ve done a lot of traveling and a lot of adventuring. Some of these adventures have made it into my writing, and others are waiting to be spun into tales, and some are just journal entries in my photo books. But there are so many adventures I’ve had that just make me who I am, that make my characters who they are, and that just make me love life. So, we had a little adventure, I love it, I covered my boots in mud, and we came home and had a snack.

Yesterday was a great day, not just because of the adventure but because I bought myself that reward I discussed in my previous post for making it to the halfway point in my writing 365,000 words in a year goal. I bought myself a copy of Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth, which happened to be on sale at Costco. Yay, cheap books! And a sweater. Just don’t tell my husband. Wait, my husband reads this blog… too late! So, I have a new book on my shelf, which I likely won’t get around to reading for a while. It has a nice cover, but and even nicer cover if you take the wrapping off. If you haven’t done that and check it out, do. I won’t ruin the surprise by posting a picture here.

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I’m just going to look at it and smile.

JEH

365K in Year Update #18

Well, this past week was horrible for writing. In part because I went on a mini-vacation to a friends farm where we went ice fishing. It was a great time but I really let my word count slide. screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-3-00-35-pm

As you can see, as off a couple days ago I am 6K behind my goal. This means I have some busy days ahead. I’m not going to list all of my excuses here, because they are just excuses. Even though I’m busy and stressed and life is crazy, writing 1K a day takes me around 30 minutes and makes me feel better. I should be doing it, but sometimes I just don’t. But I’m going to do better, because this goal means a lot to me. Last night I sat down with my notebook and wrote 1K, the day before I managed around 500 words. I’m going to keep pushing on this, and I’m really enjoying the return to writing by hand. There is just something indescribable about the hand-mind-creative connection when writing with pen and paper. Writing is not the same on the computer, at least not for me. It isn’t near as immersive, and I find my worlds aren’t as richly detailed.

Below are a few amazing pictures from my ice fishing trip. I caught two fish and they tasted amazing! It was nice to do something fun in the winter, other than just sitting inside and reading that is. I was a guest at my wonderful friends farm, which you can read more about on her blog, North Chick Farm Shop. It was a great weekend. What did you get up to?

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On the way. Reading on the drive. 
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The cutest farm kitten.

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The lucky hole
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Fishing outside.
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The frozen lake.
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Post fishing reading and cofffe.
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Cutest birdhouse.

JEH

Some Thoughts on Pollution

This is more of a photo-essay than anything. And it’s a bit off-topic considering I usually talk about books and coffee and my love of books and coffee. But sometimes there are other things that I think about.

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On one of the days I was in Mexico, I went for a two hour walk up the beach. From previous travelling experience, I knew that beaches were often combed, cleaned by early morning workers at the resorts. I knew that I would find a different world, have a different experience by walking up the beach, but this time I saw a few things that got me thinking.

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We stayed just north of Playa Del Carmen, on the Carribean Sea. There was both a lot of seaweed and a lot of litter washed up on the shore. I began taking pictures, because all of this litter just began to catch up in my mind and a lot of it is something that we can all do something about. You see, what I most commonly saw washed up on the shore were bottle caps. Plastic bottle caps that come on water bottles or soda bottles or sports drink bottles.

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Then I realized that while people can recycle the bottles themselves and get money back, there is nothing you can do with the lids but throw them in the garbage. But why, both the bottle and the lid are plastic. Can’t we do something about that other plastic, reuse it somehow?

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Then I began to think that that isn’t the main problem. the main problem is that we’re using plastic bottles in the first place. When at home, I often drag around a refillable water bottle. I don’t buy bottled water unless I’ve forgotten my refillable container. But I do buy it sometimes. I also occasionally buy something else like a pop or a juice. And all of those lids are ending up in the ocean and destroying these beautiful beaches! So now, after my two hour long walk, I’ve developed a new goal of lessening my purchase of plastic bottles to practically nil (I’m going to be realistic, it’s going to happen sometimes, but I’m going to try really hard to avoid it). I have two favourite coffee travel mugs, and a few water bottles. I can do this. I can avoid purchasing plastic. Hopefully it helps my wallet out too.

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And maybe these pictures will help you think about litter and the state of our oceans and lands as well.

JEH