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Showing posts from 2014

Giving It My 10%

Actually, my 9.3%   Out of the 365 days that make up a year, this is my 34th blog post. I assumed that once I became a full time author, I would have more time to devote to blogging. Eh, that whole time management thing still eludes me. While I never planned to be a daily blogger, I was hoping for weekly at least. So this time around, no more promises. You'll get what I give and you'll like it! Or not, really, no pressure, it's all up to you.    It is not that I didn't have content. On the contrary, there are tons of things that I really wanted to discuss that are still sitting on my idea board. But this was also the year that I pumped out an alarming four books (that's a pittance for some authors, but massive for me) and finally took the time to learn some of the social media I have been lamenting my ineptitude of here. These are not excuses, just explanations. So below is a list of topics that I may or may not get to by year's end. If I don't make it by D…

Middle Age in the Digital Age

This Saturday, I turn forty. Other than having a massive book sale (that you should absolutely check out), I am not making a huge fuss about it. I'm not big into parties and I am certainly not the type to panic and act like the world is coming to an end because I am another year older.
   If anything, I feel a bit like a fraud. Forty is old, right? Adult at the very least. I mean, come on, I have gray hair, doesn't that prove I am a grown up? It might. I'm sure many twenty-somethings out there might look at me and think, "Uh, yeah, you old, grandma!"
   But do I feel old? Do I feel like a grown up? No. Not really. I am relatively responsible and I have recently realized that going out and partying is not an option when it takes several days to recover, but overall, I don't feel as if I have a whole lot in common with where my parents were at my age. Granted, that may have more to do with the fact that they had four kids, one who was in college. I'm su…

One Lovely Blog Hop

This blog hop is designed to show our readers a more personal side. We list seven interesting facts to help cast light onto that tough writer’s persona we all like to project. But I am human and like everyone else I have dreams, hobbies, problems and goals. I see this as a way to share some of them with you, my readers. The rules are that I share 7 Lovely Facts about myself, and links to other blogs that I enjoy reading. If I’ve nominated your blog, please don’t feel any obligation to join in, but if you do please link back to the blog of the person who nominated you (that would be me), share 7 facts about yourself and nominate 15 blogs (or as many as you can).
Once again, I have been tagged by the super talented Chess Desalls. As I have said about a million times, I want to one day be the powerhouse of pay it forward promotions for the indie author world. Chess is already there. Seriously, she is simply amazing in her support for fellow authors! Her next book, Insight Kindling, the …

I Wanna Be a Paperback Writer

Okay, you have read this blog long enough to know that this title is a bold lie. You have also read this blog long enough to know that I use song lyrics in my titles to make myself look cool. While it is true that I am an advocate for e-reading and inexpensive ebooks, I have always maintained that there are circumstances where physical books are preferable. There are also times when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
   Rather, in my case, the needs of the very few outweigh the stubbornness of the author. My book, Kind of Like Life features one of my cousins as the beautiful cover model. Because of this, I created a physical copy so that family members could have something to show off and brag over. On that level, the physical book became a display piece, a work of art.
   But doing this also opened another door. With a physical book, I was able to run a giveaway on Goodreads, which, by the way, is still open until the 12th of November. Anyone with a Goodreads …

Write On! Indie Book Review #4 Great Beginnings

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I know I've promised more reviews, so I'm getting to it! I've got a few books to get through, so I've decided I'm going to keep the format I began in Write On! #3, so let's get started! Today's reviews are all first books in their respective series and are all highly recommended by me.

Fate: The Legacy Book #1 by G. G. Atcheson
   As you know, I love vampires and I love science fiction. Fate mixes the two in a fun, yet tense adventure that follows LX (who is referred to as Alex), an alien who finds himself stranded on earth with a damaged ship. The first person he meets is a woman named Mellie, who we quickly discover (long before poor Alex does) is a vampire. What do vampires and aliens have in common? They are both hunted down by the government, of course!
   Alex is a pretty smart alien. Having observed us for a while, he speaks several languages and is familiar with most of our customs, but he is not without his moments of (hilarious) confusion. Sl…

Tagged! The World Book Blog Tour

The World Book Blog Tour is an invitation to share not only an author’s work but also the work of other authors/writers. Then the idea is to pass it on in hopes of authors reaching authors and readers across the globe. Thanks to all of you who jumped on board to participate in the fun!
Super huge thanks to Chess Desalls for this amazing chance to pay it forward by tagging me for this tour. I met Chess because she is one of those mysterious folks who understands how to use Twitter and decided (for reasons only she knows) to follow me. As it turns out, she's not just a really nice person, but also a great author. Chess is the author of Travel Glasses, Book #1 in her YA series, The Call to Search Everywhen. Travel Glasses is a unique time travel tale that I am currently engrossed in. Expect a review in the near future. You can see her answers to the following questions on her blog, which is here. Follow her on Twitter @ChessDesalls or on Facebook.

These are the question posed by t…

Doing It All Wrong (and not giving a damn)

Everyone has advice for aspiring writers. Established authors, not so established authors, readers, and even folks who wouldn't know a book if it hit them in the face have something to say on the subject. And that's great. Many of us could use all of the help we can get. Much of this help comes in the form of blog posts and online forums. You know, the internet. That magical place where everyone is rational and level headed.   Uh oh, that took a dark turn. No, this is not going to be a blog post about the perils of navigating overblown egos and self-importance in the virtual world. Nor is this going to be a thoughtful and well written list of dos and don'ts for the aspiring author. I've read lots of tips and tricks to being a successful self-published author. Some, I've taken to heart. Others, I've outright ignored. The results? Your milage may vary.   There is no simple solution to being a success and what works for one may not work for another. Keep this i…

The Author as an Artist

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You probably didn't know this, but before I decided to dedicate all of my creativity to writing, I fancied myself an artist. I was never much good at it, but occasionally I would have flashes of brilliant luck where something would turn out sort of art-like. 
   But mostly what I ended up with was a giant mess of an art space full of paint splatters, saw dust, and mod podge everywhere.
   You see, art is just like writing. To break the rules, one must know the rules. I know the writing rules, but the art rules? Eh, not so much. However, I'm learning. For our anniversary, my husband and I decided to take a painting class through our local Painting With a Twist. Have you heard of this? It's fun! You supply your own snacks and drinks (booze is allowed!), and they supply the art supplies and instructions. Our class also supplied two hours of eighties music, which led to a lot of impromptu singing and dancing, even though most of the one singing and dancing probably hadn…

Walk Away, Cliché

We've all heard them, silly catchphrases, metaphors and old wives' tales that are meant to make us stop and think. The early bird catches the worm. A penny saved is a penny earned. A stitch in time saves nine.
   Okay, funny story about that last one. I never was very good at sewing, so I had no earthly idea what it meant. I thought a stitch in time literally meant a stitch in the fabric of space and time. What nine was it saving? Astronauts, of course. Nine astronauts were lost in space and about to fall into  a black hole,  but some benevolent being stitched it up. Seriously, I am sometimes literal to a fault.
   And sometimes I stray off topic. The point is, these phrases are quick ways to convey a point without having to say much. But I think it is time to retire some. Mainly, the ones I hear over and over when I dare complain about writing. And complain I do. Ask my husband. Every book I write is 'killing me' or is the 'absolute worst!' Fortunately for …

À Loaf of Bread, a Container of Milk, and a Stick of Butter

I had mentioned once, a long time ago, that I suffer from false memories. That is, I remember things in vivid detail that never actually happened. While it is very likely that this is just proof that I'm a replicant, it makes for some interesting conversations that usually end in, "That never happened." "Yes it did, I was in the back yard on the swing..." "Christina, there was no swing." And no, my brain would realize that there was no swing, but the memory of being on said swing would remain as strong as ever.
   Because of this, I often find myself questioning my more bizarre or surreal memories of things that I may have seen on television. Fortunately, we live in a world with Google and YouTube. When I absolutely need to know if the serious situation of the singing pills who were definitely not candy was a real PSA, Google came to my rescue. The title of this blog post comes from an old Sesame Street cartoon about a girl whose mother sends her …

The Vampires Have Awakened

As you may have noticed (since I mention it constantly), I tend to spend a lot more time on the robots than the vampires, despite the title of this blog giving vampires top billing. The robots have just been very persuasive.
   Well.....   The vampires have finally struck back. In my last post, I discussed an upcoming sci-fi project called Princess Robot Commander. I've since decided that this story will now be a trilogy. While this is great news and I am happy that one of my joke ideas took on a life of its own, I have had to shelve it. Why? Because I am not ready for an epic of epic proportions just yet. And no, that wasn't a typo, I just didn't feel like hitting the thesaurus right now.
   Instead, for the time being, I am going back to work on a series that I have abandoned several times in the past. This one is called, for the time being, Chaos in Blackbird. It is 100% pure urban fantasy with absolutely no science fiction elements. There will be magic. There will b…

Social(ly Awkward) Media Part 3: the good, the bad, and the ugly

It is time once again to evaluate the progress in my fight against my crippling fear of all things social media. We are now reaching the two year mark and much has changed, with mixed results, hence the subtitle. Let's begin with...
The Good
   I've finally worked up the courage to join a few groups on Google+ and Goodreads. Not many, mind you, but the ones I have found seem to be made up of kind souls who share my interests. Of course, that doesn't stop me from second guessing my every post and frantically worrying that I've said something that will offend or outrage someone. Some habits die hard, but I'm working on that.
   There are perks to each of these sites that I am slowly discovering. Both are great ways to connect to other indie authors and to bounce ideas off of one another. There are even groups out there specifically for us introverts. They might not have as many posts as say, promo communities, but it's comforting to know that I am not alone i…

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

Unless you are an author or work in the publishing industry, the current court battle between traditional publishing giant Hachette and Amazon has probably flown under your radar. The simple version: Hachette wants to price ebooks high enough that there is no advantage to choosing them over physical books and they want everyone else to do the same. Amazon wants ebooks priced reasonably, with the high end being $10 (technical nonfiction being the outliers, but this dispute is over popular fiction and nonfiction). As such, Amazon has incentives at this price point. Mind you, Amazon also has incentives for the traditional publishing giants, but for Hachette, this isn't good enough.
   As a self published author, I've been keeping tabs on the apparent stalemate for some time. What the eventual outcome means for us hasn't been entirely transparent, but there is a lot of speculation. But yesterday, me and millions of others like me were pulledintothe battle.
After 900 bestse…

How a Blog Becomes a Book... Er... Two Books!

I mean, there's the usual way for a blog to become a book: Write a wildly popular and entertaining blog, get a book deal. Sure, it's lucrative, but a bit boring, don't you think? Usually this is just content from said blog in book format. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the Oatmeal or Hyperbole and a Half for getting ALL THE MONEYS. I'm just saying this isn't how I roll. My blog actually inspired me to write fiction.
   No, my blog to book experience has been an interesting adventure. As you may be aware, I just published a satirical zombie apocalypse novella called Going Green. You might also remember that back in October, I published a couple of zombie stories right here on this blog as part of a writing exercise. Yes, that exercise spun off and became 85 pages of zombie silliness and I can't say that I'm unhappy with the results.
   But now, it's happened again and this time, the path from blog to book has been an even odder one. Wait…

Small Victories

I am a writer. As posh as that sounds, let me be the first to say that I am not a literary genius. Yes, I have a basic grasp of vocabulary and grammar, but I don't go out of my way to pepper my everyday conversations with five dollar words. I can't afford them.
   Every so often, I come across a concept that I can't articulate to save my life. Five dollar word users would say I suffer from a mild form of anomic aphasia. I say I suffer a lack of language data in my Jeopardy! cortex: the part of the brain that houses random and seemingly usless trivia. This happened to me today.
   I needed a descriptive for a person who goes by a single name, for example: Madonna, Prince, Cher, etc. I was about to Google it, when all of the Latin that I never took suddenly came back to me and my brain said, "Hey, how about mononym?" It sounded good, so I typed it into Word and immediately, a little red squiggle appeared. So I went back to plan A and Googled, "what is the …

Jane, Get Me Off This Crazy Thing

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You already know that I love looking back at what people in the past thought the future would look like. Of course. It's fun to see the mylar space suits we are supposed to be wearing while we fly our cars and talk to our televisions. But inevitably, there are some 1950s sensibilities that rather jarringly remind me that progress wasn't exactly progressive. The family of the future was always, without fail, portrayed as white and middle class. Women of the future are always featured using the latest in high tech gadgetry. Well... Kitchen gadgetry. Silly women didn't care about computers. Heck, Jane Jetson was a homemaker with a robot housekeeper, yet what was her role? Oh, that's right, homemaker and paycheck spender.    As much as I talk about my love for the golden age sci-fi novels, it's tough to look past the blatant sexism that persisted throughout the era. Even my beloved Martian Chronicles has a "funny" story about a lonely man who finally hear…

Write On! Indie Book Reviews #3 TEXAS Edition

For those of you who do not reside in our delightful state, I assure you, adding the words TEXAS Edition (caps required) to anything makes it better. At least for Ford Trucks and several brands of chili, apparently. In this case, adding TEXAS Edition means I will be reviewing the works of three fantastic authors who happen to share the 268,581 square miles of land that I call home. I know what you're thinking; Texas? What do they write about, cowboys? Football? The Alamo? I assure you, Texas authors have talent. Whether their current state of residence has anything to do with their talent or not, each of these authors is worthy of a TEXAS Edition of Write On! and you should give them each a look.J. Leigh Bralick
   To start, I should mention that when it comes to traditional fantasy, especially the works of Tolkien, I'm not the biggest fan. Okay fine, in will admit it, I dislike Tolkien. There, go ahead and take away my nerd card. Down a Lost Road is the first book in the L…

Conspiracy Theory

I just wrote a very long post about how I have been neglecting the vampire part of this blog, comparing vampirism to social awkwardness and talking about how in this respect, I too am a vampire. I had some good points. I had some funny points. But apparently, I didn't have enough robots, so Google ate it.
   I give up. The blog is now called Robots Are The Greatest. I hear you, Google! I will never make the mistake of talking about vampires or other carbon based lifeforms again.
Sincerely,
Princess Robot Commander Esq.

Robots on Route 66

As a pretentious, naive, and as of yet untested youth, I drove all over this great country of ours. To me, at the time, there was something almost magical about the open road and the wonders one might see along the way. Then, as a financially secure and world wary adult, I discovered something even more magical about air travel and the concept of arriving at my destination mostly refreshed, knowing that my car was safely back home in a parking lot instead of littered with fast food debris, in desperate need of an oil change,and perfumed with eau de unshowered Christina. Sure, it was fun when I was living on the east coast and I could hit five or six states in a weekend drive, but after the fifth or sixth cross country road trip, I made a vow to fly anytime I went anywhere with a drive longer than a few hours.
   In recent years, I've broken that vow for a few notable exceptions like the seven hour trek to Corpus Christi (the best beaches are inaccessible without a car) and the …

Back In the Ghost Town

It seems as if I've been neglecting this blog. Okay, I have been neglecting this blog, but I didn't mean to. I have plenty to talk about, but this post is only going to talk about the things I'm going to talk about later. Does that make any sense?First of all, you might have noticed that I've added an entry on the MY BOOKS page. Last week I finally published Kind of Like Life, my first attempt at breaking into the young adult market. Admittedly, this is largely why I've neglected the blog. But hey, I've accomplished something! You can't fault me for that. :)Next up: You might have noticed that a chunk of my blog from October of last year went missing. Okay, who am I kidding? No one noticed, but it still happened. I've taken down the short zombie vignettes because they are being incorporated into my next book. Yes, I am doing a zombie themed homage to the golden age of sci-fi. Expect this to be a novella length and inexpensive offering to tide you over w…

My Trip Through the Uncanny Valley

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For those not familiar with the term, Uncanny Valley refers to a hypothesis that when something looks or acts almost human, it invokes a sense of revulsion. This explains why many people have a strong, visceral fear of Bjork. When it comes to robots, this is especially true. This is why we have no problem with the weird, obviously mechanical robot from Lost in Space, but Twiki, the robot from Buck Rogers, with his dead, dead eyes, gave some of us the willies. Even more unnerving are entirely too life like robots that have been popping up at tech shows for the last decade or so.
Personally, I don't get it. Yes, I love the clunky metallic machine men for their vintage charm. And yes, if I had to deal with a Commander Data style android I might want to punch him in the nose, but the humanoid robots fascinate me. I would love to have the opportunity to speak with one someday, if for no other reason than to see how long it takes for me to forget that they aren't a person. Oddly en…