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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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.    > . <

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. 🙂

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. 

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. 🙂

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.

Journey of the Mind

For those of you who don’t know me, I thought I’d take a moment to tell you a little about myself.

Writing is something I’ve enjoyed for a long time, and though I’ve only recently garnered the confidence to pursue it professionally. Throughout my life, I’ve come across so many stumbling blocks, that even the thought of counting them up is exhausting. Now, I’m determined to use all hardships, funneling them into my books.

When not writing, I indulge in a great many hobbies. Everything from reading to archery, from video games and Dungeons and Dragons to learning survival tactics. I even have my very own project car, though I still need a great deal of help doing anything with it. By and large, I have more hobbies than I have time for, especially since I also work full time in a factory.

My husband and I have an abundance of pets, some indoor, some outdoor. While I love our dog like a son, I find that, when it comes to any other animal, I am definitely a cat person. (A fact which, I’m sure, will be greeted with mixed reviews.) I prefer tea over coffee, any day of the week, another controversial fact, and I have an unbelievably insatiable sweet tooth.

Now, to bring it back around to the whole point of this website: my writing.

I LOVE writing. I genuinely enjoy getting to know my characters, and building the worlds they live in. I even sometimes feel guilty for the great tragedies I inflict upon them, of which there are many. For added realism, I tend to pick qualities I possess or experiences from my own life to build characters around. (I’ll let you all try to determine which are from my personal experience.) It’s fun for me to exaggerate these traits, and set them up against each other on the page. 

More importantly, it pulls the words off the page, shaping them into actual people. It makes the world I build with two-dimensional words that much more real for me, and, hopefully, for you, too.