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Showing posts from 2013

Time Keeps On Slipping...

So we've come to the end of another year and we're no closer to the science-tastic future the great minds of the sci-fi golden era layed out for us in the mid-twentieth century.
Or are we? 
And if not, is that such a bad thing? Let's look back and see how 2013 stacks up against the predictions of the past.

So we haven't colonized space, but we've now left the solar system and drawn crude pictures of genitalia on Mars. Stay classy, NASA!
If movies have taught us anything, it's that a huge meteor crashing into the earth would bring about Armageddon, or at the very least, a zombie apocalypse. But when a meteor crashed into Russia this past February, what we got was a slew of amazing reaction videos from Russians so jaded, they make life long New Yorkers look soft by comparison.
But are we truly safe? Think Jurassic Park is impossible? The scientists working on the Lazarus project say otherwise. Sure, it's frogs today, but wasn't frog DNA used to make the d…

The Feels: An Emotional Rollercoaster of a Challenge

I'm currently working on a rather emotional scene for my next book. I hate these scenes for one major reason: I don't feel that I do them justice. The biggest issue is that in my head, I see them exactly as they are supposed to play out. Whether that is conveyed in the big ol' mess of words I throw at the screen or not is debatable.
So I'm looking for a little help. Below is a list of things I'm not comfortable writing. Surprise, they're feelings. Now, before you start spinning up some conspiracy theory about the fact that I'm a big fan of robots and can't do feelings, understand that I really am an emotional person, honest! But for whatever reason, some things are hard to put into words. What I am going to do is take this list and tackle each of these here on this blog. Here is the list:A death scene (dying, not being murdered, see below)
A sex scene (sex, not erotica, there is a huge difference)
Someone being murdered
Someone receiving bad news
Some…

That's Me In The Corner...

From the name of this blog, to the post I did on surviving bullying, I think it comes as no surprise that I'm a bit of a nerd. Well, that's not true. Technically, nerds are academically proficient. The proper term is geek, meaning someone whose interests lie outside the mainstream and border on obsessive. But apparently that term changed to nerd this year and became a source of controversy, as outlined in this polarizing article from Cracked.
As I read along, I found myself nodding and uh-huhing, which in itself is strange because I admit, I don't often agree with that particular columnist. It does seem that suddenly everyone is a 'nerd' about something these days and yes, it's kind of annoying to those of us who were ostracized at some point for liking things that are suddenly okay. But as annoying as it is to remember the hurtful things people said and did, why should I or any other adult 'nerd' wish the same bad experiences on the next generation? I…

Robots as Vampires (a cautionary tale)

When most people think of robots taking over, they imagine huge, armored, battle ready monster machines. 1950s science fiction magazine covers, War of the Worlds, posters for movies like Transformers or Pacific Rim, these are the images that come to mind.
Conversely, when people think of vampires taking over, it's not an army of the undead. No, vampires are much more subtle, seductive, charismatic leaders that will charm the masses into doing their bidding with promises of power and lots of vampire sex.
People, the robots have done an excellent job of fooling us.
Vampires aren't real, but robots are, and they're sexy as hell.
Don't believe me? Do an experiment. This is the perfect time of year to see exactly how robots are seducing us into submission. Visit a large chain retailer. For best results, pick Bed Bath and Beyond or Lowe's Home Improvement. Both of these stores have leapt into the future-as-designed-by-mid-eighties-scifi by bombarding us with point-of-sa…

So It Goes

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Newspaper carrier, grocery bagger, fast food worker, diner waitress, clothing store clerk, gas station attendant, pizza deliverer, sandwich artist, upscale retail clerk, salon product wholesaler, telemarketer, bookstore clerk, insurance agent, beauty supply clerk, dot com marketing rep, office manager fraud analyst, hotel booking agent, corporate travel agent, salon product wholesaler part again. From 1987 until earlier today, I've held many job. Jobs that were defined by a rigid set of parameters, schedules, bosses, and company policies. But as of 4:30pm central time today, I am self-employed.
Deciding to take the plunge and write full-time was a difficult decision to make. If I was already a success, this wouldn't be so hard. But right now, I'm a mild success, meaning, I'm getting good feedback and modest sales, but I've got a ways to go before I'm doing book tours, or even paying the bills. But I'm lucky in that I have a great husband who is incredibly…

Your Outta Touch, I'm Outta Time

Well okay, I'm the one who is out of touch, in case the choice of a 30 year old Hall and Oates song as the title of this post didn't clue you in.
I noticed that somewhere around my mid-thirties I began using the phrase "I'm old" as an automatic response to anyone who balked at the fact that I didn't keep up with what's cool with the kids these days. Recently, a friend's tweenage niece looked at me in abject horror and exclaimed, "Have you been living under a rock?" when I mistakenly asked her what One Direction was. For other old folks, it's a band that 13 year old girls can talk about at length. But honestly, I'm not old. Sure, 40 is looming around the corner, but 40 hasn't been old since we stopped working 12 hour shifts in the fields, had babies at 14, and created antibiotics. I figure once they start replacing vital organs with titanium robot parts, I've got another 100 years to kick around.
But I am woefully out of to…

Getting To Know You

If you are on Facebook, then you know that the game du jour is the one where you post a set number of things about yourself and anyone who comments has to do the same. I did this and gave silly answers. But then I commented on someone else's post and was assigned another number. Rather than try to find nine more silly things to post, I decided to bring the 'game' over here and reveal some fun facts about me. There is no requirement to do the same if you leave a comment. I will, however, number these in the silliest way I can think of. If you get all of the references, you win um, something. The Lonliest Number: I suffer from false memories. I don't 'suffer' exactly, but I remember things vividly that could not have happened. For example, I have a memory of standing in the living room of an apartment we lived in when I was very young. I'm looking out the front door and my mom is mowing the lawn. My sister is making snow cones in our Snoopy Sno-cone machine,…

Modern Inconveniences

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Last weekend we got a new stove. Why? Because in 2010 we were doing some heavy renovations that included ripping most of the sub floor out of the kitchen. This left us with a big hole that was open to the elements and inevitably, the wilderness made it inside, so we ended up with a rat living in our oven. We discovered the extent of the damage a few weeks later on thanksgiving, when we turned on the oven and were greeted with the smell of preheating rat pee.
Yes, I did say 2010, which means that for three years, my husband and I have cooked every meal on the stovetop or in a toaster oven, including three Thanksgivings. Now to be fair, we are vegetarians, so it isn't as if we were cooking a whole turkey or anything, but looking back, it was quite an accomplishment. This, coupled with a conversation I had at work the other day made me realize how many modern convenience items, that everyone assumes are standard in all homes, we don't own. Are we strange? Or are there other peop…

A Much Needed Makeover

Hey, look up! Do you see that? That's my swanky new cover art! Fellow blogger and talented artist, Shoshanah, AKA Mindless Minion Number 2703, created this and I can't thank her enough. I've been looking for a way to feature artists on this page and she provided me with the perfect opening. So with that in mind, I'd like to draw your attention to the heading at the top of my page titled Fantastic Art and Where To Find It. As of right now, there are only two artists featured, but there will be more and I welcome any and all to submit their links as well. Go take a look right now!

I Might Have Borrowed Your Name

There are only so many letter combinations that make up a name. Sure, celebrity parents would tell you otherwise, but just you wait, future playgrounds will be rife with confusion over which Apple, Moxie Crimefighter, or Ford Prefect belongs to whom. What I'm trying to say is, unless you have a very unusual name, you probably share it with more people than you realize. Some of those people may be fictional.
I am one of the legions of Christina McMullens out there and, if Google is to be believed, they are all far and away more successful than me. And yes, one of them is not only fictional, but the main character in a murder mystery series!
And this is the reason that every book you read carries a handy disclaimer at the beginning. Not every action hero can have a name like Jack Gunslinger, Basher  McPunchmaster, or Carlos Danger*. Sometimes the hero is Joe Anderson or Bob McPherson. Those disclaimers are there so that Gordon Jones, the guy who steals your lunch out of the fridge …

Career Confessional: Anonymous Infamy

What's your dream job? Obviously, mine is to be a successful author. But I also have a fantasy dream job. What is a fantasy dream job? It's a job that either doesn't actually exist (kitten and puppy cuddler), or the actual job isn't as glamorously two dimensional as we envision it to be (zamboni driver). On a recent trip to San Francisco, I was reminded of my dream job, as well as the reason it's a pipe dream.
You see, I have this unique talent wherein I talk just like a pre-recorded message. Not a week goes by without at least one person asking, "Is this a machine?" when I answer the phone. It's not simply a matter of articulation, a steady pace, or speaking with a complete absence of regional dialects, though all of these are important. The secret is inflection; punctuating certain syllables that would earn you odd looks in casual conversation, yet somehow invoke a subconscious clarity of understanding in the listener when delivered by a disembodie…

Write On: Indie Book Reviews #1

Remember how I said I'd share this space with other independent artists? I'm going to start with books because, well duh, I read a LOT. My first review is for Notebook, by Mel Hosking, which I gave five out of five stars on Amazon.Notebook, not to be confused with The Notebook, because that would be terrible, is a dystopian future young adult novel set in a world where most plants and animals have gone extinct due to poisoning of the water supply. The protagonist is a young woman named Iris Ivy, named so because both are extinct plants. Iris lives in a compound with her mother and father and her replicate, basically a clone who we learn will be used as 'spare parts' because that's how the human race survives, by replacing failing organs with fresh clone meat.
Eventually Iris and her clone, Dandelion (named for a plant that survived), learn that life in their compound is not as it seems and they escape, only to find that the outside world is equally as dangerous, b…

An Open Letter to the Weird Kids

This isn't going to be a funny post, or even lighthearted, but this is the post I want everyone to share. I'll freely admit that I don't watch the news as often as I thought I would as an adult. The main reason is that mostly, it's horrible. Considering that I get fifteen minutes of NPR on my way to and from work on weekdays, and that I supplement that with the occasional non-fluff piece from Buzzfeed, my exposure to what's going on in the world is limited. Despite these limitations, I've seen three stories in the last two weeks that have made me sick, sad, and more than a little outraged. All involved bullied teens who took their own lives.For most the millions of kids who are just now entering high school or middle school this week, life is probably pretty exciting. They're entering a new, more mature phase in their lives. But life is about to get a lot tougher for some, and I'm not just talking about the sudden increase in homework or even the awkwar…

Oh No, She's Back

My apologies for the long absence from updating. I just did something that I don't do very often. I went on vacation.
Last Saturday, my husband and I boarded a Virgin America flight to San Francisco. What happened next was pure magic. Not once did I worry about work, the books, or anything else that would in any way be stressful. And it was amazing. We ate like we weren't worried about calories and in fact, we weren't! Considering that I brought my trusty Fitbit with me, I was able to keep track of the many miles of steep hills we walked for the sheer joy of it. In one day, we managed to hit 15 miles, rendering the banana and Nutella crêpes that we had for breakfast null and void.
I promise, I'm not just writing this to gloat about my vacation. No, I'm posting this to tell you that taking vacation is great and you really should take one too. A real vacation that is, where regardless of where you go or what you do, you enjoy it. Don't think about work, don'…

Geometry and Teen Romance

I'm finding an annoying trend in young adult fiction:
A book introduces us to the young female protagonist. She meets a dreamy dude and you are led to believe that the universe aligned in such a way that they were made for each other.
Then in the second book, the young female protagonist meets some other dude. Maybe he's a badboy, maybe he's the quiet introvert, maybe he's just a normal dude (this never happens). Girl gets squishy feelings and suddenly she's torn between two hunky love machines (bonus points if she describes herself as plain).
It would be easy to point the finger at Twilight, but this trend is older than Jane Austen. What's up with that? Is it too much to think that a young female protagonist can be happy with her contrived soulmate and blissfully ignore every other guy who rips his shirt off in her presence? Am I missing something?
Tell me reader, if you're out there, does this appeal to you? Am I just a prude? I admit, I've been invo…

Getting By With A Little Help From Strangers

A few years ago, I tried an experiment. I had written a blog to record my travels in Europe. At the time, I didn't intend to take it any further than that. I just figured it was an easy way to share my pictures and experiences with family and friends because I didn't have a Facebook or Myspace or whatever people were doing back then. But the funny thing was, no one actually ever read it. At least, no one who I had intended to share with bothered to look at it, or if they did, they never told me.
When I finished recounting our trip, I started posting pictures of our pets. After that I wrote whatever came to mind, which admittedly, wasn't very interesting. But then one day someone posted a comment AND began following my blog. I wasn't sure what made this one person think I was interesting, but it was enough to make me hatch a plan.
I started a second blog. This one was called, Your Blog Is Awesome, and the intention was to find other folks who had interesting things to say…

Anyone Could Have Been A Vampire

I bet you thought I was never going to stop talking about robots. Yes, I am aware that the name of this blog is Vampires and Robots, not OMG I HEART ROBOTZ OMG!!! Though I might have considered that.See, the thing is, I write about vampires in my books, so I spend a lot of time thinking about them and forget that I barely mention them here. So now I will remedy that with a post dedicated entirely to vampires.One of the more enjoyable aspects of writing a 'plausible' vampire series is that I get to dig through history, find famous folks of dubious character, and shoehorn them into the vampire profile that I've created. It's also the most time consuming, which says more about my obsessive behavior, considering that I take 90% of what I research and throw it out the window before writing my own version of history. Given this method, it seems as though my search for interesting characters in history is a bit unnecessary. Anyone, at any point in history could have been a va…

The Feels: Tears In The Rain

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Ever since the dawn of the internet there have been screen names and sign off signatures. My screen names have ranged from silly, to self-importantly silly, to straight up pompous, and there have been many. But my sign off was always the same:  All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.  If you don't immediately recognize the quote, it's from the movie Blade Runner. Specifically, Rutger Hauer's character, Roy Batty. If you've never seen Blade Runner, remedy that. Just remember to watch the director's cut because it's easily a zillion times better than the original.
Blade Runner is a cult classic, future noir film that defines everything I love about science fiction; flying cars, androids, gritty distopian landscapes, and dramatic fashion. By no means is it a tear jerker. In fact, the 'love scene',  between the two main characters (played by post-Star Wars Harrison Ford and pre-Cat Woman crazy Sean Young) has been widely criticized …

It's Only Paranoia If You Want It To Be

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We are being watched. It's been all over the news recently, but it's nothing new. Today the NSA is monitoring our phone calls, a few years ago it was wiretapping, and before all that came to light it was Ad Sense trying desperately to sell us banana protectors based on our emails. Let's face it, twenty first century privacy concerns read like a fanfiction crossover between 1984 and Idiocracy. (A quick Google search surprisingly says that NO ONE has written this yet! Go us?)
I understand privacy issues. I'm a pretty private person despite my forays into publishing and social media. But I'm also a warped individual. I'm okay with a nameless government program logging my calls because, who uses the phone these days? Heck, since I've succumbed to Facebook no one even texts me anymore, let alone emails or calls. I'm okay with the government using the front facing camera on my phone to watch my reactions to cat videos on Buzzfeed. I'm even okay with them …

Overdrawn

Yes, it has been a while since I posted. That's partly due to the fact that I haven't had much to say and a whole lot due to my inability to manage time. Between working full time, writing when I can, spamming social media with advertising for my books, and working out because I have to and not because I like to, I don't get a lot of free time.
This weekend I was able to get the cover for my next book done pretty quickly, so I decided that Sunday would be free time. Instead of catching up on everything else I've neglected, I sat around and blazed through three books.
I have no regrets.
Two of the books weren't very good, but the third more than made up for it. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm addicted to reading. As far as addiction goes, I'm pretty okay with this one.
This week I'm back to editing the prequel, but I promise to set aside time to blog. Until then, go read something, it's fun.

Talking To Robots

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I haven't been ignoring vampires, I promise. I'm still writing my series vigorously, but for this blog I seem to be gravitating toward the shiny metal hooligans because they are currently my biggest audience.
Obviously, I love the idea of artificial intelligence. I love silly, cute little robots that serve no bigger purpose than to be toys just as much as the giant machines meant for the technological betterment of society. But there's one robot I've never understood and that is the 'bot.
I mean yes, I understand that they are malicious code, poorly masquerading as a human in order to lure the gullible into giving up their personal information. It's their methods that confuse the crap out of me.
Take this blog, for example. I've got two, maybe three people who read regularly at best. Yet looking at my traffic stats, you would think that I've got a huge international following and that tons of other sites are regularly feeding me tons of traffic.  Al…

Yesterday's Future

As I have mentioned about a million times, one of my obsessions is past visions of the future and whether or not they ever come to fruition. Most of those I've seen have come from publications such as Popular Science, but Hollywood has their fair share as well. This is a look at futures that have either passed us by or are on the near horizon. I'm skipping the obvious, like 2001, 1984, and Radio 1990. Okay, so the last one wasn't science fiction at all. But the internet has proven that this was a real show. I had thought for a while that it was a fever dream I had as a child, especially the week where The B-52s were the featured artists. Now about that mid 80s Tab commercial I only saw once...
Sorry, I got distracted there. Anyway...
Off-world colonies will be populated by replicants in six years.  At least according to 1982's Blade Runner. But if you go back to the source for the movie, Phillip K Dick's 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, they've …

Author Confessional: Mad With The Power

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In my head, I'm an anal retentive, highly organized, punctual neat freak. In reality I'm a clueless, scattter-brained, disorganized ball of hot mess. Every so often I spend an entire weekend coming up with a new organizational system that is utterly fail-proof, only to find that by the end of the week, the mail is once again piled on the dinner table, the laundry is on the floor, and the desk is covered with whatever projects I've halfway abandoned.
It's the same way with writing. I've recently started a huge timeline on the wall of my office to make sure that the dates I keep throwing around don't contradict each other too much. So far I haven't run into too many problems, but let's just say it's a good thing I've established Andre as a boy-genius because he might have had to finish his three degrees before he was of legal drinking age to have accomplished some of the things I've made him do. But creating the timeline had done me the favor…

The Computer In My Pocket

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My husband caught me writing my last blog post and was completely baffled by the fact that I was typing it up on my phone. I was baffled by his baffledness seeing as part of the reason I fell out of habit with my last blog was the absence of a good blogging app. Now that Google put out an official Blogger app I've become unstoppable.
See, don't tell my husband, but I'm kind of in love with my phone. I have to laugh when people are baffled (I'm going to use this word until it has no meaning!) by the fact that I don't own or watch television. I actually think they imagine me sitting on my sofa, staring at the empty space on the wall where the tv would be, lamenting my boring existence. Well the joke's on them because I don't even have wall space for a tv, let alone a sofa the dogs haven't claimed as their own! Ha!
The truth is, I've got every time wasting form of entertainment I'll ever need in the palm of my hand. Games? Check. Books? By the hun…