Writing Update

1. Work on Ghost has been progressing with way more speed over the past few weeks. I even managed to get serious pages done when my husband and I were visiting family for a few days, which is pretty impressive once you know how easily distracted I can be. I'm in the middle of the big finish now, actually. I've just got to wrap up this huge, complex, crucially important scene, and then I'm off to a resolution and an epilogue. I am looking forward to it so much, you have no idea. The closer to the end of a book I get, the more hours I tend to put in so that I don't lose track of the million threads I'm trying to pull together, but oh man, does it get mentally exhausting in the last strides. I need a day off to watch bad Netflix in my jammies.

There's still a ton of revision, obviously. I have a bullet journal for fiction projects, and like, four entire pages of my Ghost section are composed of what I call go-backs. See, sometimes in the middle or end of a book I'll realize something awesome is unfolding out of nowhere, but that I haven't set that event up so far in the book. It's just this thing that leaps out of nowhere and makes no sense without some kind of context coming before. However, because the idea is very new and I'm not sure how best to use it yet, inserting an introduction and substantial set up to make sure the new element works would be both time-consuming and--should I realize the manuscript was better off beforehand--potentially wasted, so I just make a note in my journal to do a go-back later once I've figured it all out. I've tried to come up with a better name for these go-backs, something not so obvious and blah, but what it lacks in poetry, it makes up for in accuracy and lack of effort, so I've never bothered to go through with it.

The sort of revision that go-backs require is, unfortunately, a major part of writing without an outline and following your id into random, dark corners. But hey, considering how much better writing Ghost's book has been than writing Tobias's book was, I'll take an expanded revision process with pleasure.

2. Have you heard that Bookbub has an author recommendation thingie now? I haven't looked into it, but I got an email suggesting I recommend books to you guys on their site. I'm not sure how realistic that is, since I've haven't updated anything I've been reading on Goodreads in months, but I thought I'd bring it up. Do people do that now? Is that a thing, following authors on Bookbub for recs? Am I out of the loop again? 

3. Hard Line is coming out in less than two weeks--woo!--and so I'm trying to ramp up the pre-release stuff. I'm not good at this part, though, seriously, you guys, the marketing angle does not come naturally to me. I feel like I'm mostly throwing tag lines and incomplete quotes from reviews at people and then running away before they notice how awkward the whole process is, and that makes me worry that I'm being a jerk and interrupting people's busy lives like a bad radio commercial. I've been putting up excerpts on the blog the last few weekends, which isn't a hard thing to do, although choosing a section of text isn't always easy. It doesn't help that I've been using sort of long ones, and it's hard to find sections that don't have spoilers or will be confusing out of context. I don't think I've picked too badly, but they've all had a fighty, angsty, enemies-to-lovers tone so far. I think for the last two excerpts I'll go for something a little more intimate--sweet or spicy, maybe. :D

4. Still plugging away on that side project that I can only refer to with zero specificity. Planning to go great guns on it next week, though, if I can get Ghost out to my betas this weekend. Cross your fingers!

5. Oh, and guess what? Hard Line is a RT Book Reviews Top Pick! 

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Hard Line Excerpt #3

Hey guys! We're getting so close to the release of Hard Line! Only a couple more weeks! 

So without further ado (or any at all, really), here's this week's mini-excerpt!

“What is this?” Tobias asked, unthinkingly. His experience of romance until now had been simple, almost careless in comparison to the way this thing with Sullivan was building with countless small collisions and subtexts that Tobias couldn’t keep up with. He didn’t understand how Sullivan worked, how he kept making the ground beneath Tobias’s feet seem like thin ice, how Tobias could hold all the cards and yet still feel like Sullivan was the one winning the game.

He ran his gaze over Sullivan, looking for some clue to this strange hum between them. Sullivan wore jeans, big black boots and a snug, plain gray T-shirt that showed off the stark black tattoos that covered both arms all the way up to disappear under the fabric. If he’d put gel in his hair that morning, it’d already given up, because the brown strands were loose and soft and barely out of his eyes where they’d fallen to one side. He looked good. Really good. But there were other attractive people in the world, and Tobias had never felt desire like this—razor-tipped and biting and all too capable of dragging his attention away from the important things. There was nothing romantic about it.

Sullivan’s face went blank. “This is business.”

--Excerpt from Hard Line by Sidney Bell, copyright 2018

Take a look at the longer excerpt, pre-order links, blurb and more here


Hard Line Saturday Excerpt #2

Hey guys! Here's the new excerpt from Hard Line. Only 3 more weeks to go until you can read the whole thing!

“You picked the wrong guy to fuck with,” Sullivan said quietly, leaning in until they were pressed close together, using his weight to help keep Tobias contained. Not that Tobias was fighting. He was slumped against the wall, his gaze startled and wide. Sullivan could feel Tobias’s heart knocking hard, and the speed of it pleased him.

“I’m not doing this to screw you over.” Tobias’s voice wavered. “I just need to find him.”

“Stop trying to make it sound reasonable. If you’re going to pull shit like this, be man enough to admit what you’re fucking doing.”

Tobias’s expression hardened. “Fine. I’m screwing you over. Happy now?”

Sullivan leaned in closer still, letting his fingers dig into Tobias’s biceps. “Not even close.”

--Excerpt from Hard Line by Sidney Bell, copyright 2017

Want to read more about Hard Line or pre-order? Go here.

Saturday Morning Excerpt

Hey guys!

So it's a Saturday in March, and that means we get a tidbit of Hard Line to celebrate that we're a month away from release! (That's April 2nd for the ebook, April 24th for the paperback, folks). Now, last year I did this on FB, but I had a bunch of readers point out that they aren't on FB anymore, so I decided to post these in the blog instead. But I'll still put up alerts on FB (and Goodreads and Twitter), never fear! So without further ado...

 I made this with my own two hands on that Canva thingie site. Please don't notice that it's very simple. I am an author, not a designer-type-person with actual skills at anything like this.

I made this with my own two hands on that Canva thingie site. Please don't notice that it's very simple. I am an author, not a designer-type-person with actual skills at anything like this.


Tobias got up and stacked his school things on the table, clearing off the bed so he could get some sleep. The guilt in his gut seemed to grow with every passing hour, but he refused to let it sway his path. “I’d do this differently if I had a choice, you know.”

Sullivan paused in the act of shoving his feet back into his boots. “You do have a choice. You just made the one that screws me over. That’s fine, whatever, be a dick if you want to. But don’t lie about what your options are. I can see the bullshit from a mile away.”

With that hanging in the air, Sullivan finished tying his laces and grabbed his laptop.

Tobias was still standing there, hands aching from holding his textbook too tightly, long after Sullivan was gone.

--Excerpt from Hard Line, by Sidney Bell, copyright 2017. 


Intrigued? Want to read the full, actual excerpt or pre-order? Check the book's page here.

Have a great weekend!

Writing Update

I'm going to be honest--I'm not a natural blogger. Part of it is that I'm simply not good at short form writing. Anyone who's read my books knows that I tend to err on the side of too many words rather than too few, and my blog is no different. Which means I don't blog that often, because it feels like a writing project in and of itself.

Because of that, I've decided that I'm going to simplify things a bit. I figure if I can keep you guys in the loop with less effort, I'm more likely to post more often.

So I'm thinking regular updates are in order! These will be pretty short and spoiler-free, although I have no doubt that tangents will erupt now and again and wander off into ludicrous places. This probably won't save you from pictures of erasers. I'm still me, after all. 

Without further ado, then, here's what I'm working on right now:

Hard Line: Book is scheduled for April 2 (that's the ebook--paperback is later in the month). For Bad Judgment and Loose Cannon, I started doing a release day countdown on Facebook where I revealed a short passage each Saturday. I'm thinking about doing that again, but I'm not sure how effective it will be on FB. They've been fiddling with their algorithms again, so half the time it seems like I'm not reaching that many people if I only put something up there. Maybe I'll do my blog instead of FB? Let me know if you bright ideas, dear reader. :D

Ghost: I'm roughly two-thirds of the way through Ghost's book, which isn't nearly as far as I'd like to be but isn't a problem...yet. One of the struggles of writing romantic suspense is balancing the internal elements of the romance side with the more external elements of the suspense side, and they can pose very different types of difficulties. Pacing is the one I'm concentrating on at the moment, as I'm fumbling my way out of the middle and toward the end. See, with suspense, you want speed. Less time for characters to think and react means more pressure and complication. Pressure and complication means that events start to tunnel as the options get more and more limited. But romance is sort of the opposite. People can fall into lust and infatuation pretty fast, but true love takes time, and that means slowing things down so characters have the chance to develop a bond. And Ghost is someone who needs more time than most to feel comfortable, so the suspense/romance balance has been uniquely tricky with him so far. But I'm enjoying Ghost's chemistry with his partner, and that's making it feel more like an intriguing puzzle than torture. So far, anyway.

Ze Side Project: The name of this will change to be more representative as I have more time to devote to it, because that's when it'll stop being something that gets shoved aside at every inconvenience and starts requiring A Space Of Its Own. Still, I think that'll be a while yet, since Ghost is taking up the vast majority of my energy. But I am making notes for this, and as someone whose production of good pages tends to be based on how much fun I'm having with a project, I have to admit that I'm looking forward to having more freedom to play around with this one. I also realize none of you have any idea what I'm talking about, but such is a life filled with secrets. :D

Newsletter: I'm gonna get one of these out soon. Really. Truly. Maybe. I need to release the cover of Hard Line for those folks who haven't seen it yet. And it'll have the blurb, too, of course. And I like the newsletter to have something special and/or fun that you can't get anywhere else so I'm not just throwing marketing in people's faces and then running away, because that seems rude. I haven't decided yet what that'll be, though. Maybe a nice line of dialogue or something from Tobias's book? What do you think?