Rough Trade, Being Law-Abiding, and Post-Book Content

It’s writing update time!

First about Ghost’s book, which now has a title: Rough Trade. It may be interesting to note that of all my books so far, this is the only one where my original working title survived all the way through to the end. The others were all horrible to start and had to be fixed, but Rough Trade worked for everyone from the start. I choose to take it as a sign that I’m getting better at naming things.

One of the perks of not blogging frequently enough is that I have actual news to deliver when I do show up. Not only does Ghost’s book have a title, but the draft is done! Plus, not only is the draft done, I’m already hard at work on developmental edits! What are those, you may ask? Well, that’s the big stuff. If a character needs major revamping, or if a plot point isn’t working, or if there’s a distinct lack of heat in the manuscript, all that stuff gets addressed in this first pass. Later we’ll have line edits (“this paragraph is confusing, and the detail about Woodbury contradicts what you said before”) and then copyedits (“seriously, learn how to use a comma, Sidney, you’re a professional now”). 

Since I have you, I should mention that the EU has a new law coming into affect that affects yours truly. If you're signed up for my newsletter, it affects you, too, unfortunately. What it basically means is that writers who have readers/customers/pals in the EU have to comply with the law, which is intended to keep folks from mismanaging other people's data online (to the best of my understanding anyway). 

What does this mean for you? It's easy. If you're on my newsletter list, I sent you an email asking you to confirm that you want to keep getting my newsletter. If you want to pretend I no longer exist, feel free to ignore it. Don't worry about me; I'll be fine.

However, if you like getting my (infrequent and unpredictable and occasionally full of typos) newsletter, open the email and check the box to update your settings. Super easy. Beware: if you don't do this, you'll never hear from me again. Either way, now that I've sent you an email, I'm not going to be a criminal! WOOT.

As for why you might want to keep my newsletter coming...I'm starting to look into the post-book content for Hard Line. I'm hoping to get something out to you guys sometime in late June or early July. The hardest part of it is figuring out what you guys might enjoy and what scenes will function well even when taken way out of context. Most of the time I cull the post-book stuff from deleted scenes and notes and things like that, but if the book left you with questions or with a need for a particular scene, feel free to comment with those. I am always ready to steal someone else's clever idea to make things easier on myself. It's not cheating if I tell you in advance that I'm gonna do it, right? ;D

I think that's it for now, guys. Once I have the developmental edits on Rough Trade in the can, I should have more time to blog. Upcoming topics may or may not include (depending on my mood--I don't pretend to be consistent) revision stuff, post-book warblings, and news about what's upcoming now that I'm wrapping up my Woodbury Boys series. So keep an eye out and thanks for stopping by!

In Three Days...

We're getting sooo close guys! 

I thought I'd start with a little update first, though.

The first, very rough draft of Ghost's book is done. I put a period on the last sentence yesterday morning. There's a lot of work left, but it's all revision from here on out, thank goodness. And not a moment too soon because I'm so tired I'm ready to run off to the Himalayas to become a Sherpa, that's how burned out I am. 

So I am going to take the next two days completely off, and you, my lovely readers, will get one last glimpse into Hard Line before it goes on sale on Tuesday! Have a great weekend, everybody!

Sullivan stopped for breakfast on the way to Tobias’s motel, getting a cup of coffee large enough to decimate his stomach lining by the end of the day, and pounded on the door with the flat side of his fist. It opened so swiftly that he felt a rush of air against his face.

“Where have you been?” Tobias asked, the words stiff and bitten-off.

“Hello, Tobias. I’m fine, thank you for asking. Yes, it is a lovely day, isn’t it?”

Tobias’s eyebrows crushed together, and Sullivan watched with growing, vindictive amusement as Tobias fought the urge to be polite. Finally, resignedly, he said, “Sorry. Hello, Sullivan. How are you?”


“Great. Where have you been?”

Sullivan rolled his eyes and went inside. “Chill. I overslept.”

Tobias closed the door behind him with an air of such perfect control that Sullivan knew that he’d been tempted to slam it. “Half the day is gone.”

Sullivan put his bag of food on the table. “I have a life outside of following your every impulse, you know.”

Tobias’s shoulders tensed. “What are the plans for today?”

“Today we’re going to commit a crime.”

That crease between Tobias’s eyebrows deepened. “I—I don’t—”

“Don’t try to pretend that’s crossing some sort of line for you.” Sullivan eyed him darkly and crammed half of a greasy hash brown patty into his mouth.

Tobias’s next breath was pointed and slow, the breath of a parent trying not to lose his temper with an unruly child. “What kind of crime?”

“How much cash do you have on you?”

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

Oops! Excerpt and Explanation!

Hey guys!

Obviously I'm a little late with this week's Hard Line excerpt, but I have a really good reason--I sort of forgot what day of the week it is.

That sounds stupid, I know, but it's not because I've been lazy. Just the opposite, in fact...I've been wrapping up Ghost's book, and it's coming together so nicely and I'm soooo close. I've been running ragged, to be honest, trying to finish it, and it keeps growing as I realize I want more and more development here at the end. It's been good but exhausting, and tonight was the first time in days that I decided I was just going to say hell with it and sit down and have some fun, relaxing time. 

At which point I remembered that it was Sunday and I forgot to leave the excerpt! D'oh!

So long story short, here it is. And as promised, something a little bit closer to the 'lovers' end of the enemies-to-lovers spectrum!

“You made a mess of my kitchen.” Sullivan turned his wrist over so he could trail a thumb over a smear of flour on Tobias’s hand. “And you’re not in much better shape.”

“That’s what happens when someone bakes something for someone.”

Sullivan stood up straight, struck dumb by the flutter of warmth in his chest at Tobias’s words. “Did you bake it for me? Or did you just bake it?”

Tobias’s cheeks flared crimson. “I prefer konparèt.”

“I have no idea what that is,” Sullivan murmured.

“It’s Haitian,” Tobias said, staring at his mouth. It was the middle of the night and they were both riding a mixture of exhaustion and sugar high, and Sullivan maybe wasn’t thinking straight. He could decide if those were good excuses or not tomorrow. Now, he simply gave in to the urge to press a ripe-cherry-red kiss to Tobias’s mouth, tentative and slow, little more than a brushing of lips. Tobias kissed him back instantly, angling his body so that their chests brushed and that was good. Sullivan leaned back against the counter, his hands finding Tobias’s hips, tugging him closer, and that was even better.

--Excerpt from Hard Line, by Sidney Bell. Copyright 2018.

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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