The Opposite of Tunnel Vision

Hello, all!

This week has been all over the place.

Of course, I shipped books to the winners of the giveaway. One even reviewed it for her blog, and put the review up on Goodreads. For those of you who don’t write, reviews are EVERYTHING to Indie authors.

So please, please, please, leave reviews.

Books aren’t typically cheap (except when they’re on sale, which Annabelle currently is *shameless plug*). So people look at reviews before buying, as they do with many other things. Reviews are make or break.

That being said, I was pretty nervous pulling up the review for Annabelle. It isn’t like feedback from beta readers, who point out issues before a work is published. If a reviewer finds a problem, it’s already too late to fix it.

Alas, I had no reason to stress. Five stars (out of five) is AMAZING! I was ecstatic. Ms. Roth said that Annabelle was full of “real and raw” emotion, that it’s “well written,” and makes you feel a lot despite its short length. Of course, its length is quite deliberate, which you’ll understand if you read it.

No spoilers here. Lol.

Anyway, I’m absolutely over the moon about it.

So, next time you read a book, take a second to leave a review. Unless the author is mega-millionaire receiving tons of reviews, they WILL see it. Somehow, some way. Lol. Be honest. We need to know if we messed up, and we need to know if we hit it out of the park.

That way we know what to do, or not do, in the future.

Anyway… *steps off soap box*

I was busy with advertising stuff, and shipping books, and pulling more overtime than usual at work, so I didn’t have another 9,000 word week. Shucks. Lol. I did get about 3,500 though. Which is still pretty good. I’m almost done with Salt and Silver, which will apparently be a novella.

But I now have plans for a follow-up novella, working title Sugar and Cinnamon, from the perspective of two other characters in that world, which will continue the story, as well as the potential for a third, depending on how the second goes. Given their status as novellas, I’ll probably lump them into one book, which I think I’ll call Tales of the Eternal.

Funny story about that plan, though. I briefly considered completely rewriting what i have of Salt and Silver. All because of one song.

You see, I listen to music while I work, and I came across “Various Storms and Saints” by Florence and the Machine while building tires. It seemed to perfectly embody one of the characters. Listening to it while thinking of that character…my mind started begging for a certain ending that I hadn’t at all intended.

The thought of scrapping it all, and starting over was daunting, to say the least. It took some real creativity to arrive at the ending I’ve come up with, now. It isn’t the one the song pulled up from the depths. It’s actually better, I think.

So, in the future, when that book is eventually published (as I intend all of them to be), remember that that song is Nolan’s song. Lol. I will listen to that song A LOT while writing Sugar and Cinnamon.

Anywho, it’s exciting to be drawing Salt and Silver to a close. Not to mention the fact that I’m almost done editing book one of the Regonia Chronicles.

After that, I’ll be moving into editing what I’ve got done of book two, before continuing to write it. I definitely needed the refresher, though. It’d been way too long for me to just pick it back up, and charge ahead. I had to reacquaint myself with the characters, their personalities, and their little quirks. Of course, I have notes, but getting back into their heads after so long demanded a reread.

Sorry for the winding, weaving nature of this blog. It just kinda happened that way, and that seems to be an accurate depiction of this past week.

So, I’m going to leave it this way.

Lol.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

And the Winner is…

Alright, I know you’re all here to learn who won the free books. But I’m going to save that for the end.

Mostly because I’m super excited about how much progress I made this week. Yet again, I wrote 9,000 words in Salt and Silver!

The chapters I wrote were gut-wrenching. I cried. A lot.

Lol.

If that weren’t enough, I also wrote a chapter for The Regonia Chronicles: Awakening. Though…I did mess that one up. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you already saw a post about this.

For the rest of you, I was writing while away from the computer, and did a boo boo. Regonia is written in 3rd person for added clarity. It has five main characters, after all.

Salt and Silver is a little more intimate. Two main characters. 1st person. It throws the reader into the minds of the characters a little more effectively. There’s less distance between the reader and the thoughts and actions of the character, that way.

The trouble is, since I was just writing by hand, I wrote AN ENTIRE FUCKING CHAPTER of Regonia in 1st person.

*sighs*

When I type it up here in a few minutes, I’ll have to fix every single sentence. I’m a bit frustrated over that. I mean, I make adjustments as I type handwritten sections anyway, but that’s more than an adjustment. That’s an overhaul.

Every “I” or “me” has to be replaced by a name or “he.” Every “my” has to become “his.” Every verb will have to have an “s” added. Thoughts will have to be put in quotes and restructured accordingly.

But, at the end of the day, it’s still progress. Lol.

It wasn’t written, at all, before this blunder, so at least it exists, now.

*shrugs*

And now, to the victors go the spoils.

Two winners have been chosen from Instagram and two from Facebook. I’ll announce their names, and send them personal messages on the platform they used to enter. As was stated in the rules, if they don’t get back to me within a day to tell me where to send the book, I’ll pick someone else.

Facebook: Chuck Brady and Jessica Roth

Instagram: @lilbits37 and @queen_butterfly_73

Congratulations to the four of you!

To everyone else, hopefully you’re not too sad. I know everyone likes to win, but alas there could be only four. For the rest of you, I’ll be running a sale on Amazon in a couple of days. The ebook will be $0.99 for one week, starting at 12:00 am PST 2/13/19 and running until 12:00 am PST 2/20/19. Don’t worry, I’ll announce the sale on Facebook and Instagram, so you don’t have to worry about remembering the dates.

So you can still get a copy, albeit a digital, non-signed copy, for a very reasonable price.

For now, though. Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

FREE STUFF?!

So much going on this week…

I guess I’ll start with an update on my writing, since that was the original intention of the blog. I’ll save the giveaway information for the end.

Long story short, I got a lot done this week. Working title reveal: Salt and Silver. That’s what I’ll be calling the paranormal fantasy romance I’m working on. I got between 8,000 and 9,000 words done on it this week. Which…holy shit, basically.

To put it in perspective for readers, novels typically range from 70,000 to 120,000 words. Some people expand that classification all the way down to 50,000 words.

So, 8,000 to 9,000 words in a week…I’m a bit proud of that, actually, since I was also working full time, and had some overtime on top of it. And that’s just story, full chapters, coherent sentences. It doesn’t include the notes that I typed up, or the handwritten scene that is sitting here, staring at me, begging me to type it up, right now.

Salt and Silver is coming along very nicely, is what I’m getting at. Lol.

Now, the giveaway.

I have four copies of my novella, Annabelle, ready and waiting to find their forever homes. I’ll be signing them later today, and officially opening the entry process. I’ll be posting on Facebook and Instagram this afternoon. Description below…

Brutalized, traumatized, and cast out, Annabelle has nothing for comfort save the darkness festering in her own soul. Nourishing the terrible seed of hatred planted by her attacker, she sets out to cauterize the wound. In the old American west, she ventures from one dirty, dusty town to another, doling out her own brand of justice, armed with nothing but a weaponized parasol. 
Unfettered by notions of black and white morality, the piper is coming. It’s time to pay up.

Requirements for entry:

Please, oh please, do not enter if you are under 18 years old. This novella deals with some very…sensitive and mature topics. While I understand through personal experience that many people deal with one of these specific topics in their own lives well before they reach their majority, for legal reasons, I will not knowingly give this book to anyone under 18. I don’t need or want lawsuits from angry parents.

Facebook users: 1) Like my page. 2) Share MY post about the giveaway. Don’t share someone else’s share. It’ll be easier for me to keep track, and will ensure you are entered to win. (You’ll be on my page to give it a like, anyway, so sharing from there just makes sense.)

Instagram users: 1) Follow me. 2) Repost my giveaway post. There is an app to do so. 3) In your caption, include #annabelleelexisbell so that I can find all the entries.

Simple as that. I’ll be choosing two winners from Facebook and two from Instagram. Entries will run 2/4/19 to 2/11/19. I’ll announce the winners, and get in touch with them, personally. I’ll need to know where to send the books, naturally. If the chosen winners don’t respond within a day’s time, I’ll choose another in their place.

For anyone who doesn’t win, I’ll be running a sale on the ebook on Amazon when the winners are announced, so you can still get a copy at a reasonable price.

Now, Annabelle is an extremely cathartic work for me. It’s very close to home, as is explained, to some degree, in the Afterword section of the book. Far too many people go through what the protagonist endures, what her friend Grace endures, what countless people in the book deal with…

It’s just that…most people don’t conceal blades in the tip of their parasol, and go about exacting revenge.

While that’s not a course of action I would ever encourage, more needs done to solve the problem.

At any rate, I hope the winners, whoever you may be, enjoy the book.

Now, this next part is not a requirement, but a request. Please leave a review for the book, somewhere, anywhere. Amazon, Goodreads, via word of mouth while talking to other bookworms, your own page…anywhere. Reviews are all important, especially for indie authors.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Living Like Unsupervised Toddlers

Hello, denizens of the interwebz.

It’s been a busy week, mostly comprised of manuscript submissions, work, and car trouble. Lol.

Our daily driver/gas saver went into the shop for a new turbo the week before we left for vacation. Waiting on parts means that we ended up taking a rental to Texas, and, let me tell you, I have no desire to sit in a base model Fiesta for 16 hours straight ever again.

Anyway. We picked our car up on Tuesday (hour long drive to the shop), went for lunch, and then jumped on the interstate to come home.

Then, we noticed all the cars behind us were staying back. Far.

Because we were leaving a trail of smoke.

It smelled a whole lot like burnt oil, btw.

So we were thinking that the new turbo was too sudden/too strong (hilarious because it’s a puny turbo), and broke an already weakened 100,000+ head or head gasket. Not fun.

We turned right back around, left it with the shop, and drove a different car for a day. It turned out to have been an oil line slipping off, so nothing major. We have Ash (our Cruze) back, safe and sound, now.

Fun fact, my husband and I have a lot of cars. Eight, in fact. Granted, the truck needs a power steering pump, and the caprice may well need a new engine. The mustang has some sort of electrical short, and the supra has an idle issue. My 300C SRT8 needs the stickers renewed. The CJ5 is definitely not a winter vehicle. And the porshe needs the engine taken out of the trunk, put together, and attached to the transmission the car doesn’t have…

So, the Cruze is the only one we’ve been driving lately. Lol. Because we’re terrible adults. Don’t even get me started on how we eat. I don’t know how I’m not 600 lbs or dead. Basically, we live like unsupervised toddlers when not at work or paying bills.

Anyway, bringing this back around to the point of this blog, update time. Between driving 16 hours home, dealing with the Cruze for most of Tuesday, and then working 8-12 hour days Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I only managed about a chapter and half in my new book, and revised one chapter in my series.

I got a ton of submissions done, though, so that’s good. After all, if I don’t do those, you guys will never get to read all these things that I’m writing.

It does suck that this was such an unproductive week, though. It drives me nuts how little time I actually have. I’ve finally found what I want to do with my life, but I never feel like I have the time to make it happen. Obviously, I’m still trying. Limited time just makes it stressful, at times.

But. I’m going to try to spend most of the day working on my books. I say ‘try’ because as soon as I say I’m going to do something, about 500 million things pop up to get in the way.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Some car pics down below.

Later.

My babies. The 300C SRT8 is named Sorren, and the Caprice is named Flora, aka Derpwagon. She’s destined to become a Mad Max car, but she’s still a work in progress.
And this is the Cruze, Ash the Alpha Wolf. Lmao. She’s one of our joint cars, along with the CJ5 (old school jeep) and truck. The supra, mustang, and porsche are my husband’s.

Vacation!

Hi, guys!

This week was not my most productive. Lol. I got the rest of my notes typed for the new story (5 or 6 pages). I finished the chapter I was working on, and I started another. I didn’t get any editing done.

Normally, I would be a little ashamed to have made so little progress in a week.

But.

I was on vacation, visiting family I haven’t seen in many months. Just over half a year. Since, previously, I saw them at least twice a week for several hours each time, that felt like an eternity.

I can’t even express how much I missed them, or how good it was to finally see them (not without taking a lot more space than I have here). And we got to do our Christmas stuff, since I didn’t see them on the holiday.

I got to spoil my nieces. God, they’re getting so big. It’s hard to believe. And they’re so smart. Holy cow…

Hopefully, they’ll enjoy all the Christmas presents, especially the books. (Of course, I had to get them books. Lol.) They love stories. πŸ™‚

As for the adults, we have a tradition of making the presents as difficult to get into as we can. I had to talk my husband out of welding my brother’s present into a metal box. Lol. He just used a couple rolls of T-Rex duct tape and T-Rex packing tape, weaving the layers together, to make it impenetrable.

My brother still managed to get into his faster than I opened the one from my brother-in-law, though. It took me over an hour to get through the tape and still-gooey spray foam (some of which still resides beneath my nails, despite my obsessive hand washing). Lol. My hands are dry as hell, and I lost a bit of skin on a couple knuckles.

It was worth it, though.

Anyway, this week will see me back to my normal productivity. At least, it should.

Though, a section of the factory I work at caught on fire yesterday, apparently. So…we’ll see what happens there. If I end up laid off, I’ll get a lot of writing in. Lmao.

Anyway, I hope you all had a good time this week.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Creative Outlets: The Retrieval of Sanity

So…I did what I said I wouldn’t do in last week’s post. Lol.

I started a new story.

I’ve since learned that I can edit one story and write another simultaneously without drawing focus away from either. After all, editing is really just interactive reading. I simply can’t write two books at once without completely falling into one of them. I just need to make sure to finish this one before I finish editing book one of The Regonia Chronicles. Then, I can switch out writing this one for book two of The Regonia Chronicles, and edit this one.

And thank goodness this worked. I feel alive again! Lmao.

It sounds silly, I know, but I can’t go so long without writing a story. My mind just goes nuts without it. I love building characters. I love creating worlds, and exploring them.

Since I can’t edit my stories at work in the tire factory, the 57 seconds it takes me to run one cycle on my machine, using mostly muscle memory, becomes agonizing really quickly. I need something to keep my mind occupied. Doing the same minute long routine for eight to twelve hours…gets to be a bit like torture, otherwise.

Especially with OCD. For those who know little of obsessive compulsive disorder, it lends itself quite nicely to repetitious thoughts, which sucks if your mind gets stuck in a sad loop, repeating the same depressing thought over and over again. 2018 certainly provided plenty of those to ruminate on. It was one of the worst years I’ve experienced thus far, which is saying something. I’ve seen some shit. It certainly wasn’t THE WORST, not by a long shot, but it was bad.

And since I haven’t actually written anything, other than a short story and a chapter or two for Regonia, it was starting to drag me down. I’ve been editing and doing submissions on several different projects for three or four months, now, and that’s just too long not to be creating something new.

But now I have a new story. Thank freaking goodness. Lmao.

I’m pretty excited about it, too. It’s a supernatural romance, something I haven’t done since my first full-length novel, back in college. (That book is a bit of a sore spot. The computer it was on, and the external hard drive it was backed up on, got fried. Mind you, this was before cloud storage.)

This story is much more expansive than that one, though. The cast includes demi-demons, demons, werewolves, vampires, and exorcist knights. The world also has gods, demi-gods, witches, and sirens, which are alluded to in the story. I’m making up a religion for this one, too, which is quite a feat.

But hey, I made up a language for Regonia, so why not? Lol.

Tall tasks.

Anyway, I’ve got two and a half chapters done, with basically the entire story jotted down in notes. And I still managed to edit a few chapters of The Regonia Chronicles.

Lots of progress.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later. πŸ™‚

Moving through the Storm

Have you ever done something so badly that you look back on it, and wonder how it even happened?

In the first book of my sci-fi series, I had one chapter that I was dreading getting to in the editing phase. I knew when I wrote it that it was pretty wonky, but I figured I’d take care of it later.

Well, “later” happened this week. It was TERRIBLE. I was changing perspective every two or three paragraphs, rather than showing one character’s perspective per chapter. It was long-winded and clunky all at the same time because there was just too much going on. Too many cooks, so to speak.

There’s a reason that you never, ever, EVER send your first draft to a publisher or agent, and this is certainly why. Some things are better off swept under the rug, or buried in the back of the closet, where you can forget you ever wrote them. Lol.

I genuinely don’t know what I thought I was doing. Lol. It took five hours to fix that chapter. Just that chapter. Partway through, I was ready to pull my hair out. I had to rewrite the whole thing from one person’s perspective, obviously, and ended up having to break a chunk off of it to attach to the next chapter (in the perspective that chapter uses). It was a mess.

*deep sigh*

But it’s done, now. I can move forward without that monstrosity of a chapter hanging over me like a massive thunderhead.

After that, I got another chapter written, and made a decent amount of progress with the editing. I’m so close to getting back to writing the other books in the series! It’s so exciting to be moving forward with it all.

And, of course, there was time spent with family for the holiday.

I hope you all had a fantastic time with your own families. Happy New Year, and be safe.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

So you thought you could model…

Hi, guys!

This has been a hectic week, what with writing, holiday prep, and work (oh, yeah, I don’t think I’ve mentioned that on here, yet. I work full time in a factory in addition to writing.).

My author photo shoot was this week! It was super cold. Shockingly enough, ripped jeans and a strapless corset do little to ward off the chilly, December air. But some of the photos turned out fantastic.

A lot included me blinking.Β  Β  > . <

I’m not exactly a model, so I’m pretty inexperienced with holding my eyes open for extended periods of time. Lol. Anyway, these are my two favorites.

Elexis Bell photographed by Gerad Bell
Elexis Bell photographed by Gerad Bell

And, since you all took the time to come to my website, here’s one I really like, but won’t be using as my professional author photo. It’ll go up on Instagram and Facebook later, along with a few others, just not yet.

Elexis Bell photographed by Gerad Bell

Of course, I didn’t just do the photo shoot this week. I got some work done with my writing, as well.

I made it through about 30 pages of re-acquainting/editing in my sci-fi series, and then lost all the changes made to said pages thanks to my tablet messing up…

*audible sigh of frustration*

So, I had to redo that.

Total, I think I ended up going through 45 pages? (75, if you include the redo.) Give or take. As far as writing, I now have a ton of handwritten stuff. A chapter, and a LOT of notes for the rest of the series. I just haven’t had time to type all of that up.

But it’s pretty exciting, regardless.

For me, anyway. My poor characters…ugh. To say they’re going through a rough patch is, well, an understatement. But, if everything was always perfect in their lives, it would be a pretty boring book.

Alas, the time has come for more holiday preparations. Happy holidays, everyone. Be safe.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Breaking Hearts. Continuing the March.

Hello again!

Or, if you’re here for the first time, welcome!

I was so excited last week to finally get back to writing my sci-fi series, and I’m even more excited to say that I made decent progress with it. I’ve been away from it for a while, thanks to a bit of writer’s block after I finished book one. Since then, I ended up writing two other books. >.< (By the way, this is part of why publishers and agents don’t want to see the first book of a series submitted if the rest of the series is incomplete.)

Then, I finally smashed the crap out of that dreaded writer’s block. And…promptly realized that in order to proceed, I had to add several chapters’ worth of stuff to book one to make the ending I want for the story feasible. (The rest of the reason they want a series to be complete before you start submitting. >.< )

So, since I’ve only written about 4 chapters in this series over the last year, I started by reading through what I have. Whenever I reached a point that needed a chapter interjected, I stopped to do so. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, too, though the character involved certainly isn’t.

I kind-of…had to make his life fall apart.

Just a bit.

*chews lip while considering what I’ve put my character through*

*nods*

It’s necessary.

All told, I’ve read through roughly 83 pages (full-size pages, not book-size, by the way), seven of which were added as I went. I still have a long way to go, and even further to go with book two and the prequel, whenever I finally get done with this one. Steady progress, though.

I’ve also been delving through the archives on Query Shark, an invaluable tool for strengthening your submission materials. If anyone reading this is a fellow writer, check it out. Your query letter can never be too strong. It needs to hulk out. I’m in the process of tweaking all of mine so my next round of submissions (t minus a day or two) will hopefully turn up good results.

For now, I believe I’ll quite talking your ears off (typing your eyes out?).

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later. πŸ™‚

A Tongue in Knots

Hello, all!

I think I’m going to start trying to make these blog posts weekly, so be sure to check in. I’m going to aim for Mondays, for now.

What better way to keep you all updated on what I’ve been up to, after all? Besides, it’s so easy to fall behind, what with work (bare minimum of 40 hours a week, though I don’t remember the last time I got by without overtime), the normal responsibilities of life, anxiety, and occasional bouts of depression. This will be a nice way to hold myself accountable, and a good way for me to see whether or not I’m making enough progress.

So, to that end, this is where I’m at right now.

In my current work in progress, a sci-fi series set in space 1,000 years from now, humans interact with a couple of alien species. I’ve been working on a language for those aliens, because, let’s face it, aliens aren’t just going to speak our language. That’d be silly.Β 

In the books, there are a few sections which needed translated, and I’m FINALLY done with that. It’s been tedious, and certainly time-consuming, coming up with grammar rules, and deciding the ways that their words interact with each other to make new words. But it’s done. πŸ™‚

I’ve yet to make the symbols for their alphabet, simply plugging in our letters. The symbols will be easy. I’ll save them for a time when my characters are misbehaving, and stressing me out. That way, I get a break, but still make progress. For now, I can get back to actually writing the series. I’ve got some notes jotted down for it, and everything, which is unusual for me. I don’t typically outline anything.

I submitted my post-apocalyptic drama (set right here in Illinois!) to a few publishers. I’m very excited about this novel, in particular. It’s gritty, and raw, and gut-wrenching, as a post-apocalyptic story should be, in my humble opinion.

I also submitted one of my fantasy novels to a few more places. And submissions closed for the compilation that I entered a couple short stories into, so they’re reviewing hundreds of entries as I type.

I know, submitting a novel doesn’t sound like it would take long, but I promise, it does. Each publisher or agent has their own guidelines and their own list of things they want you to write up to send with the story. In short, it makes me want to rip my hair out, and scream. A lot. Usually with cuss words sprinkled liberally throughout.

Anyway, I’m rambling a bit, now, so I think I’ll draw this post to a close. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I have submissions out all over the place, and hope to come back after anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 months with news that someone wants to publish another of my novels or short stories.