July 2021: An overdue update

Can you believe we’re in July? Like, how is it Canada Day weekend tomorrow (and Independence Day in a few short days)? Where did the time go? Like, what is time even???!

I managed to stay productive even when winter blues struck earlier this year. Now we’re in glorious summer, and it’s uplifting to know that I can go on more walks now. Especially as we’ve exited another lockdown here and have flattened the rising curve of COVID cases and overtaxing our ICUs (yaay). Bless the front-line workers who are going in and saving lives and preventing more sickness with vaccine administration.

Speaking of vaccines, I got my first shot three weeks ago, and hoping to get my second before summer’s end.

A whole lot has happened since I last posted a blog. So, I’ll try and re-cap where I left off…

Re-cap:

On October 20, 2020, I published this blog post here, not anticipating that a little more than a week later I’d be getting The Call from Harlequin and my awesome editor.

I had hoped to update back then, but the months flew by. Here I am now playing catch-up and promising to post blogs more frequently.

Writing:

I’ve sent in the first draft of Harlequin Romance #2, yippee! It took a lot to get it as good as I could make it. Worked around depression and school and I’m happy with this first, rough-ish draft.

With that project off to my editor, I’m now free to work on something new. Something shorter. So far this new project is just called ‘Safiya & Raf’s story’. I usually work harder to come up with work-in-progress titles, but I’m not sure what to call this one. There’s a wedding, a matchmaking mama, and family past hurts… Hmmm. Maybe:

Something Borrowed

An Unexpected Match

Sexual Healing…?

Last one’s a joke, lol. It wouldn’t fit with the sweet heat romance this story is shaping up to be. While I’m still kicking around title ideas, I’m in no rush to commit to anything. Only worried about keeping this book between 8-10K. I tend to write long—she says as she writes a rambling update post (lol).

Here’s my current word count for Safiya and Raf’s short story:

Reading:

I set a goal of 52 books this year. 24 of which I’m hoping to be 2021 Harlequin Romance releases. So far, I’ve read 2 new 2021 Harlequin Romance titles (fail, I know) and 7 other titles that are mostly shorter erotic romances. Currently I’m re-reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, and I’m nearly done Book 8, Obsidian Butterfly. If you’re into urban fantasy and mystery with a touch of hard-boiled crime, then Anita’s for you.

I’ve also discovered audiobooks. Let me be clear: I haven’t been living in a ditch, lol. I know audiobooks have existed for a long while. I just thought that they weren’t for me. Like, I wouldn’t enjoy them for some reason. I also like holding a book. Love a new-book smell. And though I adore my dust cover jackets, I put them aside when I’m reading. So, when I decided to give audiobooks a try, I didn’t realize how amazingly useful they are. I tend to listen to audiobooks when I’m doing something else, probably like most people. Baking, cleaning my makeup brushes, folding laundry, getting my cardio in on my treadmill, etc. It comes in super handy.

School:

I’m back in school a year later. Taking accounting courses and giving my creative brain a break by balancing it out with some analytic thinking and…dundundun, business mathematics. You cringing? ‘Cause I am. And I actually like algebra, but solving word problems still make my head hurt.

Other happenings:

Two weeks ago my ten-year-old laptop finally made me throw my hands up and give in. I bought a new laptop, and naturally I had to buy a new desk set-up (but not a new desk because desks are crazy expensive and my wallet needs to be resuscitated).

So far I’m happy with it. Looking forward to writing many stories on it, and in the near future getting all my school work finished with its help.

My old laptop has its sentimental mileage though, and I’m going to miss it.

I called it ‘Ketchup’ ’cause, you know, it’s red. I’m so creative I know. How did I ever get a book deal? 😂 Also, fun fact: I hate ketchup. The smell, the taste, the consistency, the vibrant color, and the fact someone thought to use it as an ingredient in a cake 😱 (*grrrrr*).

In all seriousness though, my Ketchup was what I used to write my first story ever—a sad/lame attempt at a Harlequin Presents that will never see the light of day—and I also wrote my soon-to-debut Harlequin Romance on it. I love it for that fact alone, but also because it put me through uni. Late nights watching anime and staying up to write last-minute English essays. I won my first ever NaNo 50K sprint on it. And it travelled all the way to UAE and Somalia with me. Like I said, history.

But I’ve said goodbye and I’m moving on. 2021 has been about kicking off a serious career as an author. I want to make this work because I love writing so very much and I want it to be a real job.

There’s my 6-month update for now.

Also my life’s kinda boring in general. You won’t be missing much, but when something happens I will pop on and let you know.

Until then cyber friends…

Keep ✨shining✨ and smiling,

Hana

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