Hello and Welcome to the New HG!

Hello Dear Readers.  Personal post ahead!

Thanks so much for still sticking around with me.  It’s been a doozy of a time, a real top-notch shitshow for me personally.  The past 2 years have been awful.  But things are great now.  The Coles’ Notes: I was with my husband for 14 years, and now we’re getting divorced.  I had a home and two cats, now I no longer have a home or cats.  I was in Canada, now I’m in New Zealand.  I was awesome, now I am EVEN MORE FRICKIN’ AWESOME.

(Here’s me at my own private “Polar Bear Swim” at Tahunanui Beach in Nelson, January 1st, 2017!)

I love life.  I have had the best time of my life the past few months.  It’s hard to go through something as disruptive as a divorce, but I’m doing well, and have a new improved outlook on life, the universe, and everything.

I wanted to share some things about me and keep you in the loop.  As this blog is primarily about my writing career, you’ll be pleased to hear that my novel, Sleep Over, is coming out soon!  I am beyond excited that I’ve come this far and will finally get to see one of my books in print, from an amazing publisher.  (More updates to follow of course!)

(Here’s me in the shuttle being driven further into New Zealand to the Wangapeka.)

As you can see, I have opted for a new name.  H.G. Bells reporting for duty!  I picked a new name that I think will be easy to 1) pronounce 2) spell and 3) remember.  I hope to hit the ground running when Sleep Over comes out, and my new name will hopefully at least not completely hobble me when it comes to being the new kid on the block.

And it has the added benefit of being similar to one of the ‘fathers of sci-fi’, H.G. Wells.  I hope to follow in his footsteps and contribute to sci-fi as he did (ambitious much Heidi?  Baby you know it!).

So my next few posts will be about me in New Zealand.  It’s so beautiful here, and it’s been an incredible place to begin healing my poor broken heart, meet amazing people, and generally expand my horizons.

(Me up at Omahu at the Wangapeka… the most beautiful place.)

Writing-wise, I will say that going through a divorce was incredibly disruptive, surprising no one.  What did surprise me, was my ability to complete a major set of revisions for my publisher during the worst time of my life.  I have to tell you, when I got the email that my draft had been accepted it was such a huge weight off my back.  It made me realise that I have spent so much time and effort honing my craft that it was still functional while my whole world was being burnt to the ground around me.  I can still perform as a writer while my world is on fire.  I honestly didn’t think I could do it, and, while I was struggling to get the final draft done during those dark times, I thought for sure it was the end of my writing life.  But I have emerged from that process with a deeper appreciation and confidence in my work, my process, and in myself.  I built the foundation of my craft strong, and I built it to last.  Thanks Past Heidi, you did a real good job there.  (Future Heidi if you’re reading this: hi!  I love you!)

Also, I am strong as fuck.  If there’s a thing on this earth that can break me, I sure as hell don’t know what it is.  (ATTN gods of fate: this is not a challenge, pls leave Heidi alone for a while k thanks bye.)

But, while I am strong, I am tired as hell.  I would love it if Sleep Over could come out and do well so I can breathe a little easier.  I know it’s not easy establishing oneself on the world stage of authordom (and realistically I expect to need several published books before I can count myself as successful), but hopefully Sleep Over will be a good start.  And then I can really shine.  Because, while I can keep up with the process while going through hell, my best work has been while I’ve had a stable and happy life.  I hope to get back to something approximating that some day, and can continue on with a vague life trajectory.

We make all these plans, and then life happens.  We assume we will be the same, but we’re all changing all the time.  Things change, we change, and here I am surfing a big change.  Yeehaa!!!

So that’s me.  Thanks for reading my most personal update yet.  I truly cannot express how grateful I am to still have you with me, for your kind words, your support, your love.  As I’m rising from the ashes of my former life I can see so much to be grateful for, so much to love, so much to feel.  And through it all, be it from the sidelines or holding my hand, is you.

Much love,

Continually Yours,

Heidi Grace Bells

 

P.S. You can email me at my snazzy new email address:  heidi {at} hgbells {dot} com  And as you may notice, my website has changed to match!  hgbells {dot} com is the new me!

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BEST NEWS EVERYONE!

It is with great pleasure that I announce I have a publisher for my novel Sleep Over!

My first published novel will be with Skyhorse Publishing.  They have placed 33 books on the New York Times bestseller list; I hope to add one more to that tally.

I am working closely with one of their editors to get the manuscript where they want it (for a larger audience, more commercial fiction than literary fiction) and I am 10000% on board with getting it to be the best that I possibly can, to reach as large and audience that I can!

I have about 1.5 tons of work to do.  How much writing is that?  Many.  Many writing to do.  Notes on just about every chapter.  Many new chapters to write.

I am so excited!

I have been waiting to tell everything this news for… let’s see, I submitted my first novel to a publisher in 2002, then wrote 5 more books, then, carry the 1… yes, ten thousand years.  But more specifically I had to keep this news about this publisher and this book under wraps for so long!  I am so glad to get to tell you finally.

Hurray for me!  I have a publisher!

I will keep you posted on things to come.

Expect to hear such exciting news like:

  • crumbling under the stress of revisions 
  • tackling tough revisions with gusto
  • getting the final draft approved by my editor
  • getting an author photo
  • getting a back blurb
  • getting cover quotes
  • getting a cover!
  • the book going to print
  • a release date
  • and much much more!

This process takes a crazy long time; don’t expect to see my book until 2017 (I think a January release was being tossed around- maybe I will get the best birthday present ever).

I will be sure to keep you posted.

Here’s a link to Skyhorse’s site.  Sleep Over will be under the Talos imprint, with their other great sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.  (For those that don’t know, publishing houses have “imprints” that handle the various genres they work with.)

I’d like to thank everyone who has checked in to see how things are going.  It’s a long process, and having your support has really made a difference to me.

Thanks for reading.  ❤

Heidi out.

SiWC 2015: Some Helpful Craft Psychology

Surrey International Writers’ Conference was amazing this year!  I met many wonderful authors and went to many amazing talks on things like the nitty gritty of the publishing side of the biz, and how to not fall into an unending well of depression brought on by improperly setting up the psychology around your writing career.  You know, keepin’ it casual.

It was very refreshing to hear more about the psychology of writing.  I have known for a long time that relying on external sources for motivation and validation is a mistake- so too is expecting to feel like you’ve “made it”.  So then what do?  How act?  Mongo just pawn in game of life!

Well for starters, I am working on building my own network.  I have a writing group, but I need to take charge and make it happen more often.  Building a group of trusted writers takes time and tons of effort, but it seems like a solid way to have a supportive environment in which to practice the craft.

Next I am going to celebrate more things.  It can’t be 15 years of work and then a single day of jubilation at seeing my book on a shelf.  It just can’t be that.  Why did I think that was a good way to go.  *rolls eyes at self*  SO the solution is to focus more on the journey, and celebrating the little steps along the way!

For instance, celebrate getting rejection letters.  They are proof that you submitted!

Celebrate finishing something.  Want to celebrate more often?  Bang out some short stories and treat cho self to something nice.  Reenforce the behaviour you want to cultivate!

I made a list of things for me to celebrate upcoming:

  • Announcing a publisher (SOON I SWEAR TO GOD)
  • Handing in the final draft
  • Getting the proofed MS to review and handing it off
  • Getting the back blurb
  • Getting any cover quotes
  • Submitting my author photo
  • When it goes to print
  • When it comes out

They likely won’t be huge celebrations, maybe just a meal out.  The point is to mark them and continue to support myself by acknowledging my successes.  If I’m only planning on having one big thing to look forward to, then what?  I will be looking to the next thing?  So like, ONE good day a year?  Naw bra.  I want many little things to be happy about.  I want to feel good about this process.

Also I need to get better at waiting for things that I have literally no control over.

In the mean time: more writing!

Good luck to everyone doing NaNoWriMo this year!  Crank out that word count.

Pic + video unrelated.

 

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Cognitive Bias Affecting A Writer’s Ability to Maintain Consistent Character Portrayal

OK so here’s something I’ve been thinking about.  For the life of me I cannot find the source study that this post is based off of, but I remember enough of the gist of it to go from here.

You can change your cognitive bias by writing opinions opposite to what you believe.

Let’s say you believe the television show Dr. Who is stupid.  If you write, hand-write on paper, the phrase “Dr. Who might actually be ok.” a bunch (I cannot remember the efficacy of numbers of repetitions), your opinions will drift.  Where you started out hating the show, after you write that phrase, your opinion of it will be measurably boosted.  You will now allow for the possibility that the show might actually be ok.

This is fascinating.  We can change our opinions simply by writing words on paper, even if we do not believe those words, and even when we are aware of this phenomenon.

So, how does this interact with writing?

I theorize that this phenomenon affects writers’ ability to maintain a cohesive portrayal of a character over a long period of time.

Think about it.  You’re writing a character, and part of that is making value judgements of them from the perspectives of other characters.  In effect, writing the opinions of other characters will affect how you perceive and portray your characters.

If you’re constantly expressing opinions about characters, then your own opinions of them are constantly being modified, and will change how you portray them.

!!!

You can see such ‘character portrayal drift’ in TV shows that run for a long time.  If one character is constantly told by others that ‘they don’t know what they’re doing’ for instance, then future portrayals of that character may lean into that judgement.  Over time, said character may become completely inept at everything they do, because they never know what they’re doing.  There is of course the actor’s portrayal of the character, and that can become caricaturish, but they are still working from a script, where writers are furthering the character on the page.

This is how shows become almost caricatures of themselves.  Characters become more of whatever everyone in the show thinks they are.  The stupid ones get stupider, the meticulous ones become more meticulous.

Writing is non linear.  Edits are happening all over the place, and drafts have whole sections cut and added all throughout.  But the flow of time when we write remains constant, and so as we make changes, our biases change the characters.

I’m still trying to figure this one out… this post has been in my ‘drafts’ folder for a few months now.  I wanted to get it out there and percolating through the cultural morphic field.  See what comes back to me.

So there’s something to pay attention to.  What shows do you notice this happening in?  What books?  If you think about it, has this phenomenon effected your writing?  I’d love to hear about it.

And because that was all work and no play, here’s a cool thing for fun.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Sleep Related Research, Glass, Prop Hunt

Well dear readers, I hope you are well.  I have had the flu for the past several weeks!  For a few days, it was that kind of sick where you can lay on the couch in silence and not even feel bored.  Your body wants you to be laying down and it makes you not care that you don’t even want to watch Netflix.

When I got better (after a solid week of eating like a maniac and napping every afternoon), I got Prop Hunt.  I have played it for the past 5 days (not all day… not today anyway haha), and it is incredible.

Prop Hunt is the modern day video-game-age equivalent of Hide-and-Seek.

The “Hunters” are “it” and they are blind for 30 seconds while the “Props” take their preferred form (or hastily-chosen-in-a-panic-form [A CABBAGE NEXT TO THE TOILET OH HOW INTERESTING]), and hide.

Once released, the Hunters must find the Props and kill them.

Hunters have health, and every time they attack an innocent object (I swear that lamp looked suspicious) they take damage.  An ill-placed grenade can be lethal.

Props have health directly correlated to how big they are.  That honkin’ vending machine is sitting pretty at 200 health, but is way out in the open.  A tiny pop can is able to hide in small spaces, but only has one health.  A nearby grenade can take one out, even if they weren’t the intended target.

So for the past few days, I’ve been a filing cabinet, a bottle, a lamp, a hula girl figurine (the hardest thing in the game to shoot!), various boxes, all sorts of junk.  It’s been a lot of fun.

When I get sick, I watch Youtuber “Seananners” play Prop Hunt, so I already knew what it was all about.  I’m glad this time I was able to play it myself.  Here he is in action.

Seananners. Pretty fun.
Onwards!

There is sleep research showing up on my feed nearly every week!  I always get excited to see how interested people are in it.  I think my novel will strike at just the right time.

Here’s some neat things, if you’re interested:

Discovery of a sleep node in the brain could lead to treatment for people with sleep disorders, such as insomnia.

How your brain actually makes decisions while you sleep

Scientists find evidence that narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder, may in fact be an autoimmune disease.

So yeah, interest in sleep and sleep research is high right now.

Here are some amazing things made of glass. I may have posted a few of these before… they continue to amaze.






Source is the very talented Paul J. Stankard.

I’ve always loved watching glass blowing.  Some day I’ll have a setup to play around with.

So that’s all for now!  Everything publishing-related is still hush-hush.  Though I can say, I have another manuscript waiting to be looked over by my fabulous agent, Beth Campbell, and as soon as she can give me notes on it I can get to work.

I’ll leave you with these: pictures of ink dropped in water.  Cheers!

Full album here!
 

You Will Never Know as Little About _____ as You Do Now.

Hello dear readers!  It’s been a while, mostly because I can’t really talk about things in the exciting phase.  I can say that my agent has begun the first round of submissions with my novel, and that it’s going extremely well.  I just need to wait on editors to get back to us about… things.

Hurray!

Mean time, I volunteered at SiWC again this year, and I gotta say it felt different.  Being there knowing an agent is hard at work for me was such a different feeling than being there searching for representation.  It was much nicer.

I got to time appointments with authors, called Blue Pencil Appointments.  It’s where writers sit down with published authors and get the first few pages of their work critiqued.  It was neat to be a part of from a distance; I like to think I’m familiarizing myself with stuff like that now because hopefully soon I’ll be in the author’s seat at conventions like SiWC!

Many writers got tons of good advice over the weekend.

I’m starting a new project, a comedy western.  Need to do something fun.  But you know how much I know about westerns?  Near 0%.  So I had an interesting idea; record everything I think I know about westerns.  Like, before I start my research.  Because I have a perspective that I will never have again (and it goes for just about anything):

I will never know as little about as I do right now.

From here on, I will only know more about westerns.  But I’d love to know what someone who knows nothing about westerns knows about westerns.  So I might as well write it down.  All the archetypes I know, all the plot devices, all the tropes etc.  And then as I do my research I’ll get a better idea of the genre, but still have a record of what “no-knowledge-Heidi” knew.

So, when you begin learning about a thing, take note of what you know before you begin learning, so you can look back and see what a layman knew about the thing!  A highly useful perspective that you won’t be able to have once you begin your quest.

That’s all for now!  I’m working on a list of common mistakes writers make when they’re starting out, and I’ll have that set to auto-update once I get the first entries few finished.

Thanks for stopping by!

Heidi out.

My X-Files Message in a Bottle Reply in the News

So last week I posted on reddit about how I used to throw messages in bottles over the side of the ferry, and when I was 11 someone from the X-Files responded to one.

Well maybe I can find the kind-hearted person who wrote to me from my favourite show!

BuzzFeed did an article about it, and today I’m in the Province!



And just for you dear readers, a bonus pic. The photographer from the paper didn’t even notice it (or maybe he did and just kept on walking).

It’s the photo on Agent Mulder’s badge when he and Scully make an appearance on The Simpsons, in case you’re wondering, and in case that makes it less weird that this is virtually the only thing on the walls of my apartment.

In writing news, the last of the revisions are off to my fabulous agent, Beth Campbell, and maybe I can start sleeping properly again, now that I’m not having to tinker about in a world where the insomnia apocalypse is ravaging humanity.

That’s all for now folks!

Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi out.

I Have An Agent

I am extremely pleased to announce that I have signed on with Beth Campbell over at BookEnds.  She will be representing my novel Sleep Over.

It has finally happened.  I have an agent.

I have been waiting to say those words for a long, long time.

Beth has just switched over to helming the representation of scifi and fantasy over at BookEnds.  She wants an author who isn’t just a flash in the pan.  She loves my manuscript, and my head is still swilling from all the gorgeous things she is saying about my writing.

And the writer’s head grew three sizes that day hahaha.

I won’t be able to share too much about the process of finding a publisher as it’s happening (super secret stuff), but you can bet your butt you’ll hear it loud and clear when I have signed with a publisher for Sleep Over.  My only hope is that it takes a bit of time, as that’s a good sign that more than one really, really wants it.

Meanwhile, I will keep on posting for you, my dear, dear readers.  I am so glad you could be here with me when I was finally able to give this good news!  Your support has meant so much to me over the years as I continue on this wonderful journey to authordom.

I will continue to share a great many and varied things with you. Including, if you’re interested in the details, How I Got a Literary Agent.

In addition to my fantastic announcement, here are some more things just! for! yooou!!!

Episode 7 AND episode 8 of my Oddcast, Forgotten, are up! Episode 8 took the longest of all of them and had so many outtakes.  I’m really pushing the form to the limit, and “the voices” really had a tough time of getting this one to work.  It’s getting better as it goes along, and I’m really happy with where it’s heading!

We’ve also got more videos from my husband’s Wild Gears Creations channel.  Are you ready to see something wild? This one is crazy!

And are you ready for parallel lines?

 

Something else fun: the tale of my Message in a Bottle which was answered by The X-Files (4 images in album- clicky).

Also, here’s a little comic I made about how I make coffee.

That’s all for now, dear readers.

I think we’ve entered into a new and exciting phase of my career here. I am one step closer to having a major work published, and hopefully soon I can share that with you too.

Cheers.

Heidi out.

Zombies Galore, Oddly Satisfying, and Episode 5 of Forgotten

Well dear readers, today I have much to share with you!

Zombies Galore is live, and my piece “Monday Matinee Madness” opens and sets the tone for the collection.  You can actually read my contribution in its entirety for free!  Just “Look Inside”, and because mine is the opening story, you can check it out, which I’m quite pleased about.  🙂

Now onto the latest from my Mathematical Husband, who is persisting on creating these mesmerizing and oddly satisfying pieces of art with his laser cut Wild Gears.  This video shows him using a gear-in-a-gear-*in-a-gear*.  Pretty impressive.

And now for another thing you can check out.  Forgotten is my strange little audo project which I’m going to keep calling an Oddcast.  I’ve just put up episode 5 for you, and it’s called “Choices”.  We’re getting better at this.

I’ll leave it at that.  Thanks for stopping by.

Heidi out.