Writing tips? Who the hell am I to give writing tips?

Hello, all!

I recently got an audio book version of one of my favorite books (I won’t say which, because I’m about to shit on it a bit. Figuratively, of course. Lol.) I put it on my phone, and have been listening to it while at work, and….it’s just stunning. It really is a perfect story, even if the writing could stand a few improvements, at least in the beginning of the book.

It has aliens and futuristic technology, primitive survival and humans on the brink of extinction, other worlds and a new vision of our world, drama and tension. Multiple romances, even a love triangle, though in this case it’s more like a square with one side collapsed so that two corners collide.

In short, the story has nearly everything that I like to read.

But hearing it spoken aloud brings writing flaws to attention. There’s a reason that one very common tip mentioned in writing groups is to read your work aloud.

Which brings me to the topic of discussion today: passive voice and copula spiders.

Basically, they’ll fuck your shit up.

Too many make your story drag on, racking up the word count without adding to the plot, or moving it forward, at all. I know how comforting a higher word count can be, believe me, but if it’s all going to be cut out in editing, it doesn’t help in the end.

Passive voice example:

The apple was eaten by Tom. (passive as hell)
Tom ate the apple. (much better)

The second sentence actually shows someone doing something. It’s active. It’s more interesting, and doesn’t pack your story with useless words. (A tip I saw in a meme recently said that if you can insert “by zombies” after your verb, you’re using passive voice. The apple was eaten…by zombies.)

Now, for copula spiders. Basically, if you search for the word “is,” or some other conjugation of the word “be,” in your manuscript, and can find more than 8 on a page, that’s a copula spider. If it’s printed, circle one, and then circle the others, connecting them all to one in the center. It’ll kinda look like a spider.

Is, am, were, was, be, been.

Look into it. They’re vicious soul suckers, and slow the story down. Don’t believe me? Here you go:

The apple is red. It is shining. The sunlight is bouncing off it.
The red apple shines brilliantly in the sunlight.

Which would you rather read?

Hell, I was able to add another word (“brilliantly”) for impact, and the second version was still shorter. Concise writing vastly improves story quality.

Let’s combine the two flaws, because they tend to go hand in hand. How about we raise the stakes while we’re at it, really drive the point home?

The gun is loaded. It is pointed at me by Tom.
Tom points the loaded gun at me.

Sweet (in theory, not in the practice of pointing guns at people), simple, and to the point (pun intended).

It just flows, so much better.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times where this can be used for emphasis. Perhaps, Tom wants to assure us that the gun is loaded. Perhaps, someone is colorblind, and has confused a fuji apple for a granny smith. They need corrected, lest they put the wrong type of apple in their pie, and someone says, “It is red.”

Similarly, passive voice can be used to emphasize parts of the sentence, and, let’s face it, people love to really drive their points home, any way they can. So, dialogue becomes a free-for-all, to a degree.

In a similar vein, first person-present tense can use these things quite effectively, if the story is written as if it were the character’s thoughts. Even then, it has to be done well.

Not to mention the potential for a troublesome character who tends to over-explain, thus limiting any possibility for concise language.

So, every rule has its exceptions.

But, for the most part, passive voice and copula spiders hinder storytelling. Burdensome and ineffectual, they slow the reader, transforming a potentially page-turning novel into a sluggish read.

That’s not exactly something most writers want.

Some stories are strong enough to pull their weight, regardless of a few extra words. The one I’ve been listening to, for example.

But not every story can bear that kind of burden.

Do yourself, your editor (and thus your wallet), and your readers a favor. Be wary of these things. When you employ them in your story, do them with great purpose, and make sure it’s obvious that you meant to do it.

We can tell when it’s an accident.

*steps down from the soap box*

*prepares to use the hell out of copulas, because at this point, I’m just talking*

On a more personal note, I want to say that rewrites are exhausting. Lol. I worked through about seven chapters of Salt and Silver, and was frustrated the whole time. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I just knew that it wasn’t working.

Then, I realized I was holding on too tightly. To sentences. To phrases. To chapters.

To a character.

So much stuff must be cut to make room for the things I have to work in. I was trying too hard to adjust things, rather than eliminating them. But if a character’s role in the story changes…naturally the amount of time they’re given in the limelight should change, as well.

So, I head into this week’s revisions with a clearer idea of what I must do.

Wish me luck. Lol.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

My Writing Process

Clutter. Crossed wires. Messy. Tangled wires on a telephone pole.

Hello, all!

This was a week of decision making. At least, as far as one of my WIPs (works in progress) is concerned.

Now, I’ just about done editing/reacquainting myself with what I have written of The Regonia Chronicles. Book one is edited (first sweep, I’ll do more later before submissions), and four of the…seven or eight chapters I’ve already written of book two are edited.

As such, I’ll be diving back into writing that one very soon. Which I’m looking forward to. There’s a lot to be written, and I’m pretty pleased with how one of the character arcs is turning out.

Salt and Silver, though…

I finished writing the first novella and even the scene which connects it to the second novella. but I hate this wonky format, and the shift in perspective forced upon me by the ending of the first novella makes the whole story fall flat.

Now, before I say much more on the subject, I should probably tell you a bit about how I write.

Some authors are incredibly organized. Some even use the “snowflake method,” which, I believe, goes as follows:
1. Write a sentence containing the story you wish to tell.
2. Expand that one sentence summary into a paragraph with all main plot points.
3. Come up with basic info for your main characters.
4. Turn that single paragraph mentioned above into a page.
5. Do a thing called character bibles and character synopses, which entails writing a full page about each main character (background, personality traits, appearance, etc.) and half a page per minor character.
6. Use everything from steps 1-5 to make a four page synopsis and scene list (EVERY SCENE!!).

THEN, you start your first draft.

Some people spend YEARS just planning their novel. Which is fine. If it works for you, keep doing it.

But to me, quite frankly, that sounds exhausting, and extremely confining. Such a restrictive, planned method seems…suffocating.

I don’t do any of that stuff from the snowflake method.

At all.

There are a few names for my writing style. Discovery, exploratory, organic. I prefer pantser (flying by the seat of my pants).

I get an idea, and start writing.

Period.

Then, I just figure out the details, and build the world and the characters as I go. Usually, i have a vague idea of how the story will end, with a few scenes I know I want to include, though everything is subject to change, at any point in time.

I keep a separate document for important information, like character or world description, a basic timeline (established/filled in as I go), things like that. But aside from main characters, I rarely know the appearance or background before starting. Sometimes, all I know of my main characters is there appearance and a single defining trait. I just make sure to put details in the other document as I come across them, so I can reference that, and avoid continuity errors.

Basically, I make it all up as I go, letting the characters and the details of the story reveal themselves to me as I write. It’s just more fun for me that way.

Only about 20% is ever really planned before I start writing.

Salt and Silver had about 2% planned. If that.

I had the opening scene, which has been revised several times over to incorporate details which eliminate plot holes later on. I had the aesthetics and names of two main characters, but only because they’re in that scene.

Nothing else.

By far, this has been my least organized WIP to date.

(Side note: My writing style frustrates my husband. Lol. He likes to see the process, and pictures me with a room with notes tacked to the wall with strings tied from one pin to another, making a huge mess. But I keep all that in my head. Lol.)

But now, I’ve hit a snag.

Those of you who follow my blog might remember a little mention of a song which sparked an idea for this story a couple weeks ago. I resisted, stupidly enough, and came up with the janky novella-scene-novella format to “solve” the issues.

I was already almost done with the first novella, and didn’t want to rewrite nearly 40,000 words. But the final scene, the one where the couple finally gets together, was such a chore to write, and I didn’t know why. Usually, I love writing that scene to wrap up a book.

But the story was broken.

And now…I have to rewrite. There’s no way around it.

I thought I was going to have to kill off a couple characters, too. But, a few days of agonizing over it while at work helped me figure out a way to use those characters (alive) to drive the story forward. Monotonous, labor intensive factory work is great for working through writer’s block. Seriously.

They now have the ability to pull their own weight in the story, creating all kinds of extra tension and conflict for a prolonged amount of time, rather than just, “BAM! They’re dead! Everyone’s sad. Ope, time to move on.”

Yay, torture! Lol.

Jk.

But seriously, that’s the best advice I’ve ever heard about writing. Find out what your character wants (sometimes it takes a while to figure it out), and then do everything you can think of to keep them from getting it.

Long story short, I’ve solved the problem. I just have to rewrite/reshape 40,000 words to implement the solution… I’ve already started, though, and it flows so much better.

Since I’ll be doing a major overhaul of Salt and Silver at the same time as writing The Regonia Chronicles, I should probably try to maintain a schedule. Sunday night/Monday afternoon will be blog time. Monday night will be Salt and Silver. Tuesday night will be Regonia. Wednesday night will be submissions and/or whichever story is calling to me.

By the way, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a night time writer.

The rest of the week is all work, though. Actually, Sunday is a 12 hour shift at the factory, but I normally start my blog after work, regardless.

Anyway, though, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m genuinely excited about all of it. Salt and Silver will be so much better for it.

So, for now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Using Social Anxiety as a Shield

Hi, everyone!

Yet another unproductive week. Only about 1400 words typed. I polished off a chapter, and started another. I have the rest of that one written out (just not typed yet), which officially brings Salt and Silver to a close.

Which is pretty exciting.

I began the scene that will connect it to the next novella in the series as well, and made it halfway through that (also handwritten). The format of this series is odd, though. I get the feeling that finding a publisher or agent willing to look at it will be difficult…Most places don’t want novellas, let alone novellas connected by single scenes…

It may have to be another self-published work.

At any rate, I still have a long way to go on the rest of the series, and have to decide now which series to give my writing time to, as I’m just about done editing Awakening, Book one of the Regonia Chronicles.

Now, then.

The reason I typed so little this week…

I was social.

That’s a rare thing for me. I went out with friends twice last week, in addition to going to the gym with my husband and one of our friends.

(Don’t worry, I’m not going to start talking health stuff, and talking your ear off about meal prepping. I’m only doing this gym stuff because I’m tired of the crease in my side. The top of my hourglass is holding hands with the bottom half, and I don’t like that. Lol. Some women can pull off that look, but I’m not one of them.)

But I digress. Back to the socializing thing.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’m…not a people person. I never have been. And I mean NEVER. I found out recently from my mom that the reason I was in preschool for two years (started a year early) was to help me socialize. Even then, I apparently didn’t talk to the teachers for the first year and a half. Then, when it came time for kindergarten placement testing, I refused to talk to them, and they thought I needed special ed. Mom asked me the questions, I passed, and went on to standard kindergarten…where I refused to talk to the teacher for the first 3/4 of the year. Lmao.

I did fine with my school work. I just…wouldn’t talk.

And then, I just kinda…stayed that way. Sort of.

I’m better about it, now, at the ripe old age of 28. I talk to people when they ask me questions. But I still don’t start conversations with strangers. People I’m comfortable with, sure, I’ll talk to them somewhat easily, so long as no one else is present. Though, it takes a while for me to get comfortable, and usually that puts people off, chasing them away before I actually open up.

Social anxiety has been a plague for most of my life, as have a few other anxiety disorders, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, though that one was triggered by trauma.

You see, being blatantly unsocial as a child made me an easy target. For a lot of things, really. Bullying being one of them. The people who did that are completely different people, now though, as am I, and we actually get along. Which is not something I ever, ever expected.

But the thing that brought on crippling (yes, I mean crippling) OCD is that I was molested as a child. It feels a bit weird to just lay that out there like this, but I mention being sexually abused in the afterword of my novella, Annabelle. So…it’s kinda already out there for the world to see.

After it happened, I didn’t tell anyone for years. Because I couldn’t. I couldn’t talk to people about normal stuff without feeling like a disappointment, let alone something so…disastrous. I couldn’t explain why I couldn’t stomach being touched, or why I immediately had to wash. I couldn’t explain why I spiraled into a fit of incoherent, rage-fueled tears if I couldn’t get to a sink or get my hands on some antibacterial wipes or lotion or whatever.

I couldn’t explain why my hands were so dry that the knuckles cracked open, and bled, or why I couldn’t stop washing them, knowing it would make it worse. I couldn’t explain why I opened doors with my wrists, or refused to touch remotes (which is why I never watched tv or movies, or played video games until college/after college).

I couldn’t explain why I was so tired, because no one knew I laid awake in bed, waiting for everyone else to fall asleep so I could get up, wash my bed clothes because the cat or dog brushed the blanket with their tail, get a shower, step onto a clean towel, put on socks before stepping off said towel, sanitize the tv remotes, wait for the sheets and blankets to be dry while curled up in a ball on a clean towel in the living room floor (with the socks removed as I stepped onto this new clean towel) watching reruns of The Nanny and (ironically) The Cosby Show, until I could finally make my bed, and get some sleep. The fact that my hands would have been washed at least once after or during each step of that process also went unnoticed.

Sadly enough, the part of it all that makes it so terrible (my young age), also helped me. Had I been older, had I needed to hold down a job, I wouldn’t have been able to. No one wants a cashier who can’t touch money, or who screams/cries when she can’t wash her hands.

But I could be a good student. No one else touched my pencils, or my paper, or my books.

And since people assume that good grades are an indicator of good coping abilities, my straight A’s joined forces with my previously established anti-social nature to keep me under the radar for years. No one ever suspects that straight A’s might mean that a person who finds school to be easy is using that very misconception of good coping mechanisms to hide, or that maybe they’re just terrified of getting a B because they’d feel like a horrific disappointment if they did get one, even if they know, rationally, that B’s aren’t bad grades.

But OCD and social anxiety don’t give a damn about rational.

So, I kept my grades up, kept my head down, and drifted along, secretly drowning.

Eventually, I got tired of the OCD, and got tired of being miserable and wanting to die every day for years, and did something drastic. There’s this technique for dealing with OCD and phobias called flooding. I didn’t know what I was doing back then, but I put myself through it. It’s definitely not a best case scenario. Essentially, I touched a bunch of things my OCD determined to be dirty, and then touched everything in my room, effectively ruining my sanctuary.

This, obviously, has the potential to backfire, and result in panic and massive anxiety, followed by hysterical cleaning.

But I got through it, and started dealing with the OCD. A while later (a couple years) I actually started telling people (after someone else confessed to me that they’d been abused, which told me that I wasn’t alone), and I got into counselling.

It’s been an unbelievably long journey to get to where I am, and there’s still so far left to go…

But I’m trying.

So, this past week, I was social.

I didn’t do as much typing as I probably should have. But it was for the best.

Sometimes, you just have to step away from the computer, get out of your sanctuary, and be with people. Even if it’s difficult.

And sometimes, you have to talk. Typing this up has been….difficult. The internet provides a nice little barrier, though. A bit of anonymity, if you will, even if this is on my website, with my name clearly printed atop it. Because I’m not saying all of this to someone in person, I’m not staring into someone’s eyes while I lay everything out there. I don’t know who will read this, or how many people will see it. It could be no one, it could be one person, maybe hundreds of people.

But if one person sees this, and thinks, “I’m not alone…”

If one person finds strength in these words…

Then, it’s worth the lump in my throat, the butterflies in my stomach, and the knots in my shoulders as I pour my heart out, or, rather, type it out.

*sigh*

Anyway, I don’t know how productive I’ll be this coming week, given that some of my family is visiting from Texas, and of course, I have work and overtime. But, I’ll keep you guys posted.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s been a much more revealing post than usual…I just hope someone comes away from it with that little bit of strength that they need.

Because, it doesn’t stay terrible forever.

Even if it feels that way sometimes.

For now, though, I’ll be signing off.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

just Keep GOING

Hello, all.

It’s been an okay week, as far as writing goes. I pulled off 3500 words in Salt and Silver, plus some handwritten stuff. And I’ve decided, for sure, that I’ll be doing a follow-up novella to round out the story, with vague ideas of how it will go. I just have to finish off Salt and Silver, first.

Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. I didn’t do a damn thing with The Regonia Chronicles. Lol. I feel a bit shitty about that, too, since I’m so close to being done with the edit of Book one, Awakening.

But it’ll be fine. It’s not like I have a deadline for it…

Lol.

See, that’s funny, because publishers typically won’t look at series that aren’t complete. Unless, perhaps it was written by an author who’s already very successful. And, well, I still work in a tire factory to pay my bills, if that’s any indicator. Lol. So, me having a deadline for it is impossible.

And that paragraph gives you an idea of where my head has been for a while, now. Rejection is such a big part of writing, and the publishing world demands thick skin. The odds are never in favor of authors.

Small presses receive hundreds of submissions per month, and publish 5 to 10 books a year. Big publishers get thousands of submissions a month, and maybe publish 50 books a years.

Being that ONE that gets accepted…

You kinda just have to throw out an absolute fuck ton of submissions, and hope one sticks. Sort of like jokes in a lot of comedy shows, now. Tell a million jokes and someone will laugh.

So, in the interest of finding that one laugh, I’ve been submitting the three novels I have which are ready for submissions absolutely everywhere that wants their genres. As such, I got 12 to 15 rejections last month.

Some of these places, I’d submitted to months before, and their responses just happened to fall in the same time frame as the ones that only kept me waiting a couple weeks.

The first few, I shrugged off. The next few…stung. The next couple genuinely hurt. By the end of the three or four week span, it felt like the entire publishing industry was telling me to fuck off.

It sucked.

A lot.

But.

This is what I want to do with my life. This is who I am. Writing is in my bones. Hell, when I can’t sleep, I tell myself stories to relax my mind, which, incidentally, is where the opening scene for Salt and Silver came from. Several sleepless nights saw the entire first scene mapped out.

I am here to tell stories that make people feel.

It’s so easy to let all the stuff around us desensitize us. Being numb just happens sometimes.

Sometimes you just need to feel.

Yeah, sometimes my stories hurt. But they also bring joy.

And I can’t see myself pursuing any other career.

For so much of my life, my only dreams for myself were to avoid being a disappointment, be financially stable, and to end up in a relationship that didn’t consist of constant fighting. I didn’t dare to ask the universe for more, and I certainly didn’t see myself as being worth any more than those very simple requests.

It wasn’t until I was 24 that I had the courage and self esteem to dream of being an author. Sure, I wrote before that, but I never took it seriously as anything more than just venting my emotions. It took a couple years more to get the guts to stop dragging my feet, and seriously start pursuing writing professionally.

But now that I have that dream, now that I’ve started trying, I can’t back down.

So, as bad as last month hurt, I’m going to keep moving forward. I’ll be sending out more submissions in the coming weeks, and, above all, I’m going to keep writing.

Because this is just…me.

So, to all of you facing rejection, just stay true to who you are. Do what you need to do to get to where you want to be in life. It hurts, and there are times when it feels absolutely impossible.

But it isn’t going to happen if you don’t try.

And with that, I’ll be signing off.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Perseverance. Always keep trying. Move forward. It's never impossible. Be the little spout that grows up in the middle of the pavement.

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™‚