I’m Elijana (El-E-Ah-Na) Kindel, an indie romance author who specializes in writing hot mess (train wrecks waiting to happen) Happily Ever Afters.
I know. I probably shouldn’t admit that. But I’m a firm believer in calling it as I see it and the stories I write… they’re messy. Hot. And sometimes?
Soooo freaking unbelievable that I swear they’re real.
Real enough that they might as well be my life on a train-wreck-waiting-to-happen romantic adventure that’s tunnel vision focused on getting knocked upside the head by a sigh worthy Happily Ever After.
But that’s me. A writer who didn’t start out as a kid who wanted to write.
Oh no, that’d have been way too easy for little Ellie Mae Kindel (aka, she who never does anything “easy”… according to her mama).
So yeah, I may not have been a kid who loved to write, but I sure did love dreaming up stories. Not lies or fibs, but honest to goodness stories. Then I’d share them. The old-fashioned way–by sharing them out loud with folks just like you.
This is the part where I have to admit to being dense, because it never occurred to me to write those stories down until…
I hit college and a friend dared me to write a book better than the one I read and then complained lacked a plot.
Gauntlet tossed down, then immediately snatched up by adventurous (slightly shocked stupid) me…
I then sat down to write my first book.
Aaaaaaand that book was crap. Again, calling it like I see it, because that first book absolutely was…
Complete and utter crap.
The crappiest crap that was ever (and I mean EVER) written.
But I wrote it! All the way through to THE END, too! Yay me! Now, toss it out, make a date to bury it in an undisclosed location that will never (EVER) be revealed, and then make like a professional author and…
Start ANOTHER book.
Which I did. <proud grinz>
My second book was much better. Not perfect, but more than enough “better” that it got me noticed and laid the groundwork for a true writing passion. Book 2 done, I moved on and whipped up a third story–a super short one written in an obscenely short amount of time, like two hours, that I named, The Reunion. That story did very well (IMHO) and took first place in a contest, then was published in a magazine. (Yes! My first story got printed and I didn’t have to pay for the ink! Cue the victory chair dance music! <g>) Right after getting word on that contest win, I got another notification that my fourth book–a full length novel called Emily’s Affair that I later self published in 2011–took second place in that same contest. (Super squee! OMG, I placed in a contest! I must be doing something right! Yay! Me!)
After getting the validation from the contest wins that I desperately craved, I plopped myself back down in front of the keyboard then proceeded to push myself to write more stories and faster… something I affectionately think on as my first round of “Head down and Go Write!“. It was during that time period when I produced my next full length self published contemporary romance… Lucien.
*sigh* I love Lucien‘s new cover. Really speaks to me about Luc’s journey to become Mister Perfect in his unexpected, yet wholly necessary, office romance with his assistant, Elise. Nothing was as it seemed in that book. Except that Elise and Luc were perfect for each other and… this other thing I hate to talk about which happened a few days after I hit THE END on Lucien‘s manuscript when my world went topsy-turvy then dropped straight into a little period in my life I affectionately refer to as HELL.
And now, ladies and gents, our real story begins.
HELL started late December 1998 and lasted until January 2016. The HELL I’m referring to started late December 1998, lasted until about December 2015, and was (obviously, because I never do anything the easy way) the hardest, absolute worst type of HELL that could afflict any type of storytelling writer.
Loss of my writer’s voice.
Okay, so “loss” isn’t the word I like to use. Because it wasn’t “lost”. Think here: misplaced and buried under a sea of self-doubt that was mixed up in an identity crisis that developed after being repeatedly told it was time for me to
shut up grow up, go back to college, then go out and get a “real” job. Because “writing” wasn’t a real job. It was “just” a hobby.
Never mind that it was my dream. Granted, it was a dream I’d found later in life than most would expect, but it was still a dream, a desire, a wish my heart made… then immediately tried to suck back in because I couldn’t handle being ridiculed, mocked or having my happily ever after stories referred to as “trash”.
So yeah, spirit crushed and writer’s tongue
cut out buried, I fell in line with the demands, buckled like the good little girl I was and did the one thing I swore I would never do.
Admitted defeat. Finished college. Got my degrees in biology and chemistry. Then entered the “real” world and became what kid me “claimed” I wanted to be when I grew up.
Okay so can I take a second to say how messed up it is that I got beat down by ‘kid me’s (uninformed) career choice?
Yeah, yeah, I get it. The current self publishing mode for making a living wasn’t around back when I was a kid and adult me did need money to eat and live, but… come on!
If ‘kid me’ hadn’t been dense and instead had been able to connect the
obvious dots from storytelling to writing, then she totally would have shouted…
I wanna be a writer when I grow up!
(it’s true. I really am my own worst enemy.)
Because it gets better. In a sick, twisted, I can’t stop watching this train wreck of epic proportions from derailing and going Ker-Splatt kind of way… and that is that for me… being a scientist wasn’t (and still) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For others, it works, but for me?
It’s like a creative soul sucking vampire that crushes my sanity.
But I went along with it. Unable to speak a single word to a single story… until I experienced a particularly brutal 2015 when something inside me snapped and I screamed,
Enough is enough!
Yes, I may need the scientist gig to pay the bills, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also write and resume my serious pursuit of a professional writing career.
That happened December 2015. By January 2016, I yanked myself back into the saddle, told myself “I care, but don’t care”,
gave up sleeping pushed myself hard to get back into a daily routine and… wrote. It may have damn near killed me because 2016 was not an easy year either, but I did it. Took me an entire year of writing part time after the day job, but I freaking had a brand-spanking-new book written and my writer’s voice…
Oh, baby, she was back. With a vengeance. And then some.
But wait–notice that I said “writer’s voice” and not “Me”?
That’s because I’m not a complete idiot. I know how my world works. Trash talking and ridicule from those ‘real world’ and ‘real job’ supporters… it wasn’t a matter of IF comments would get made, but WHEN they’d get said and I sure as shit did NOT want to deal with it. And since I’d already royally EFF-ed up and told them I was writing under my name… I had no choice but to go with Plan B.
Ah yes, good old Plan B. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I’ve got to give you a little backstory into my first foray into self publishing–which occurred during the HELLacious time period. Remember how (a few paragraphs back) I mentioned self publishing 2 books? In 2011?
Yeah well, it turns out (because I set it up that way) that I didn’t self publish those books for the hell of it. I did it for a purpose. A very specific purpose.
As an experiment.
Because I’m a good little scientist girl like that.
<cue the mad genius scientist music>
Experiment done using 4 books, I pulled the data together, analyzed the crap out of it, then used it
to beat the naysayers prove out (to myself) whether or not the indie self publishing model could be a viable option for me to pay the bills.
Turns out it could indeed be both very viable and very lucrative.
Which was further proven out after I got laid off from a long running
(for seven years of my life I will never get back) scientist gig. Lay off occurred due to a corporate merger. Happened right at the start of the housing bubble, banks gone crazy and collapsing time period that sucked for me and so many other honest, hard working, decent people. More than three years I was unemployed and underemployed. Three and a half flipping years where all I had to back me up was… occasional work, unemployment extensions, food stamps, and… consistent royalties from the books I’d self published.
You’d think after going through something like that that I’d have dug up my writer’s voice and written like crazy. But I didn’t, because I “couldn’t”. Because I didn’t have the one thing I desperately craved in my world.
A support network that believed in me and my dream to be an indie author.
Which freaking sucked on a scale that I cannot even begin to describe. I was freaking miserable! Absolutely miserable! Trapped in a kid designed life blueprint that didn’t freaking fit anymore and… yet again, the support network really needed (wanted) me to stay on point with the ‘kid me’ blueprint and get another scientist job.
Because writing is “just” a hobby and what Ellie Mae is really good at is science. Not writing. Writing is “just” a hobby. That won’t pay the bills. (Even tho it did. For 3.5 flipping years.)
But WHATEVER. I’m wrong, they’re right and blah-blah-blah… this shit is getting (and got) old. Real old. Real quick.
Okay, so not as quick as I’d have liked it to have happened, but the point is… it happened. I snapped. Gave in to my inner cynic and jaded self, then quit struggling (in vain)to get the support network to listen and (do what a freaking support network was supposed to do) and accept that my dream as an indie author was, indeed, a very viable and lucrative option.
It wasn’t like I wanting my support network to financially support me for the rest of my life. No, that wasn’t what I was asking for. What I wanted and needed was their emotional support. To feel that they believed in me, my talent, and my abilities.
But instead what I got? What I felt shooting straight at me all day and every day… their fear. Not mine. But theirs.
*sigh* Look, I don’t hate the support network for what went down. I get it. We all have fears of the unknown. It’s the sad fact of life. One that no one gets that better than me–a mom who got the “I want a divorce” call from her baby’s daddy 2 months after he shipped overseas. Which was about 2 weeks after I’d shipped over all the household goods. So yeah, nothing says scared shitless like being homeless with a 14 month old baby, a dog, a truck, and two suitcases to your name. But I pushed through it. Hurt like hell because I sure could have used child support during all of it, but yet again… it wasn’t happening.
No matter how many lawyers and “supposed” we’re-here-to-help groups I spoke to. I was on my own. Raising a kid on my own. Following my dream on my own. Doing every damn thing I had to do… on my own.
But I did it. Because I had to. My kid needed me. Still needs me. Will always need me. Just as much as I need her. So I did what I had to do. Put one foot in front of the other and tunnel vision focused on what needed to get done.
Was I scared? Hell yes. But not of being on my own. Because I know what I’m capable of–when I have a support network behind me, believing in me and refilling my well. But take that support and belief away and… I stumble. Because I need someone to watch my back. People I can trust who will be there for me no matter what.
*sigh* I got it for the single mama-hood gig and the scientists gig, but the writing dream? It wasn’t happening.
Which meant I needed to dig deep and embrace my inner (ruthless, tunnel vision focused) world domination master contingency plan maker and make… a new plan.
New plan started in 2014 and went like this: Stop writing. (Or so I told the support network.) Get another scientist job (in a new town, in a new state) then start doling out more helpings of my soul to corporate America until I my world (self-esteem and finances) are back where they need to be so I could say… enough is enough.
I’m done being Low Maintenance.
(It’s highly overrated. I’ve taken it like a good little girl long enough. It’s time to make my move.)
That was December 2015. Next up was January 2016 when I revived Head Down and Go Write!. This time as 2.0. I didn’t “shut up” about my writing–but I did exercise my God-given right NOT to talk about my writing with naysayers who didn’t believe in me and my talent. I made up a pen name. Wrote a new book. From scratch. Story is in a series that’s been driving me crazy for years. But I did it.
I did it in My Voice that’s… unfiltered, unashamed, and unapologetically ME.
Then, in January 2017, I published and watched that big, beautiful book. Collected data. Studied the market. Learned more about the changes in publishing. Joined old friends and made new ones on the writers circuit. And so much more… until I got every damn thing I needed that gave me the warm-n-fuzzies to execute a Green-Light-Go! on the revive and refresh my writing career as ME… Elijana Kindel, crazy mama-slash-head writer elf extraordinaire.
Which brings us up to the present, December 2017, when I will be pulling that big beautiful book from the other pen name and republishing it as ME. Because I wrote it and I am not ashamed to admit it. And yes, before I bounce out of here, I will admit that part of me is still “leery” the support network may make non-constructive comments about what I freely choose to write, but that’s not fear talking. That’s self preservation and me being entirely too busy to put up with
uninformed bullshit other people’s fears.
Writing fiction isn’t easy. It’s work. No matter what genre you write. But writing romance? That is probably one of the toughest genres to write in. Not because writing relationship stories of journeys to happily ever after-dom is hard, but because the genre itself has been mocked, ridiculed, and labeled as “trash” for a helluvalot longer than I’ve been alive. (Probably for as long as women have had to deal with discrimination, ignorance, and a general disregard for their potential, intelligence, and rights… but that’s a whole different topic for whole different another spot on the web.)
The point is–I’m not your average indie author. I’ve got battle scars. Won my fair share of trophies. In writing and out. I write what I know–hot mess (train wrecks waiting to happen) Happily Ever Afters. It’s not always pretty, but they’re Hot. Messy. And include sigh worthy moments that make me–the most jaded and cynical person I know–believe that dreams can (and do) come true. Not when you want them to, but when you need them to.
And this–me here at the website sharing my crazy but true author’s journey with you…? THAT is exactly where I need to be. With you, in this moment, officially inducting you into my brand of crazy.
And THAT, my dear friends, concludes my
crazy but true author bio of… how I got to where I am today.
Thank you for reading about my hot mess (train wreck that totally happened on the way to my) Happily Ever After story! I hope you enjoyed it! If you’d like to read more hot mess (train wrecks waiting to happen) Happily Ever Afters, be sure to check out my Books page on this website, Find me on Amazon (I’m a Kindle Unlimited author), or Follow Me on BookBub!
Until next time… stay cool, never stop believing in your dream, and happy reading!
(Hell yes, that’s me and my author bio pic. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s perfect because
I’m the least photogenic person I know and it captures who I am at my core: A mom. A wanna-be-Disney-imagineer. A dreamer. Now, a do-er who is living her dream… as Head Writer Elf Extraordinaire at Elijana Kindel, Ink.)
Official Short Bio
Elijana Kindel is an indie author blessed with a unique sense of humor that often leaks out into her stories. She specializes in writing her version of hot mess (train wrecks waiting to happen) Happily Ever Afters. She lives in the suburbs of Nashville, TN with her family and spends the bulk of her free time writing. Preferably on her back porch (where she can easily ignore house cleaning chores). To learn more about Elijana and her books, visit her website at elijanakindel.com.