A Writer’s Summer 2018 in Review

It was a busy and fantastic summer! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I went to the ocean for a fabulous vacation and had a great time. Even though I was on vacation, I was hoping to get some writing done (a writer’s job is never done, is that right?), but I actually didn’t do much work at all and it felt nice.

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Now that my full-time writing life is at an end for now (I was back to the day job July 9th), there is a bit too much work in my life. I’m still working away on a bunch of projects, which I will blog about later this week, so most days it feels like I’m working two jobs (8-5 Monday to Friday, and Wednesday evenings and Saturday or Sunday mornings on writing, plus whatever other time I can fit in). I’m also trying to get back to the gym, so we’ll see how that goes!

But back to vacation. I’m still in that half-place where vacation feels like it was something you actually did, not just dreamed, and I definitely wish I was still sitting ocean side. I hit up some new cafes, drove over 3,000 km, through prairie and mountain, rivers, lakes, and ocean (okay, we took the ferry over the ocean). As a writer, it was great to experience all of that, and not just take the airplane shortcut.

I had some adventures, I even found what could vaguely possibly be a large black pearl on the rocks. What do you think?

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One of my favorite things about this trip (other than spending precious time with my family), was that I got to revisit Nessa, my hero from the Black Depths Series, and take the same ferry she does when she starts her journey in Sea-Witch. I had to take a copy of the book along with me, just so I could get Nessa’s photo on the boat. Here it is:

I think she looks fantastic there! I love the Black Depths World, and maybe one day I will write a second series that takes place in it (I have an idea, just no time). For now, here are a few more pictures from my vacation.

I hope you had a great summer!

JEH

Back From the Beach and Other Things…

I have to say, Mexico in January was a great place to be. Now I’m back in the snow, though the temperatures have been surprisingly pleasant. I was happy to learn that it was -40 C while I was away, plus there was a blizzard. I’m glad I got to spend time on the beach reading instead of dealing with snow. It’s taken me a few days to readjust to winter and work and regular life. I think it would be all to easy to live on a resort where you ever have to cook clean or worry, except maybe worry about if it’s going to rain. Here are some picture from around the area we stayed in, it was gorgeous.

I finished reading two books on vacation and read parts of a couple others. I never read just one book at a time, but read whatever suits my mood. GoodReads tells me I’m 1 book ahead of my reading goal, which is excellent because I think reading 60 books in a year is going to be quite the challenge, especially since I have a couple long books on my shelves.

I’ll post a review of As I Darken tomorrow, one of the books I finished while on holiday.

Till then,

JEH

 

The 10 Best Self-Indulgences for Writers

If you’re anything like me, there’s no way you can not buy yourself anything at Christmas time. Especially if you’re spending a lot of time in the book store shopping for other people. I always keep a list on my phone, or really, a roll of pictures of the books I want to read ASAP, but sometimes there’s a book or something else that just jumps out at me and I have to get it NOW. Though I do try to resist, especially if I’m still hoping my husband will buy me something on my list, sometimes I give in. Either way, here are some of the things I will be indulging myself with this holiday season (or shortly after when the sales come in January). When it comes to self-indulgence, these are the things I love

    1. Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate (I could say that way more than three times). I’ll admit, it is one of my favorite reading snacks. I keep a bar in the nightstand just for the purpose of having some chocolate to eat during my afternoon reading session. I don’t eat it every day, but when I do, it’s good, high quality chocolate. Godiva is one of my favorites.
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2. Pretty, Pretty, Classics. I have a weakness for pretty books. Especially if it is a beautiful copy of a book I already own, for instance. I may own more than one copy of Pride and Prejudice. That may be more than I need (seeing as I only need one). But sometimes the books are just so darn pretty I can resist.

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3. Seven Year Pens. I also may own more than one Seven Year Pen. Maybe because the ink is supposed to be able to last for seven years. Maybe because of the cool colours and awesome designs. Or maybe because I’m just the type to indulge. And hey, a writer always needs a pen, because what if your phone dies? or your laptop? and all you are left to work with is – GASP – pen and paper???

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4. Notebooks. I’ve said it many, many times, but I just can’t resist notebooks.

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5. Smelly markers. This is a new one for me. Or maybe a really old one, since as a child I loved the markers that smelled like cherries or blueberries or what not. But nowadays the scents are much more diverse, and you can find markers like roasted marshmallow, tropical punch, and coffee, to name a few.

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6. Coffee. Sometimes, all that keeps me alive is coffee. Okay. Maybe I need food too, but Coffee is my creative life’s blood. There is rich dark roast, light acidic coffee, and of course, Tassimo. I’m one of those people in a love/hate relationship with Tassimo – I love the ease of use but hate the waste. I also have a French Press (which I use ever so rarely). As, even though I’m loath to admit, I’ve been brewing a T-Disc daily. French Vanilla is my favorite.

 

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7. Vacations. There is nothing I like more than a trip. Not only does it bring fresh inspiration and a break from the everyday, but it usually means I’m not working and therefor have more time to do my chosen work (see #10). This winter I’ll be heading down to Mexico, but earlier this year I made my escape out to Vancouver, where I spent a good chunk of time drafting Twisted Currents, some of which takes place in this fantastic coastal city.

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8. Great, Inspiring Movies. Sometimes, reading a great book just isn’t enough, or I need a change of pace. Sometimes a movie is more inspiring than reading a book (though rarely if it has been based on a book), and it is finished a lot more quickly. Because it’s not reading, watching a movie is an indulgence. Often, I don’t let myself watch a thing unless I’ve finished my daily word count. So when it comes to a treat, movies are at the top of my list. A favorite choice of mine is Star Wars. In fact, I’m going to see Rogue One this coming Monday, and I can’t wait.

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9. A new laptop. Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret. I own three laptops. Yes, three. And a table with a keyboard. Two of them are old, i will admit. But they still work. I didn’t have to replace them. But I did. Currently, I do the majority of my work on a MacBook Air. It is light and portable and a beautiful shiney silver. Still, it is getting a bit aged, maybe I should see what else is out there….

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10. Time. This is the one thing that I really need more off, and it’s probably the cheapest thing to buy. I buy myself time all the time, by refusing the clean the house, by cutting back on sleep, consuming more coffee, and ignoring the television. When there is a writing project I want to get done, the only thing I need is time (well, I suppose I need my laptop, too). So, if you have time to spare this Christmas, be sure to send some my way. It will be greatly appreciated.

JEH

There’s a Disaster Waiting for Me

I’m back. It was a long, and wonderful vacation, full of writing conferences, visiting with old friends, nature, and even a bit of fishing and dinosaurs…

Sadly, there was barely any reading, we just had too much to do. And now I’m home and there’s a disaster waiting for me to clean it up…

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I’m hoping that somewhere under all of this mess is The Shadow Hour, a great book that I’ve been trying to finish forever so I can post a review. I think I only have about twenty pages left, so I’m really hoping I can find it soon and that the mischievous house sprites that like to misplace my things haven’t lost it forever…

When the book shows up, I’ll finish it and post my review here. If I haven’t been lost in the mountain of stuff that needs putting away. Once I’m done with the reading and the cooking I’m going to begin my new year listing (I’m much more a September New Year person than I am a January New Year person). I’ve come up with a writing challenge for myself, which I will post more of here in the next week, as well as some updates regarding the Black Depths Universe. Meanwhile, I hope you’re all enjoying these last few beautiful weeks of summer. What have ¬†you been up to?