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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

20-Question Author Interview

Indie Author News just published a 20-question Author Interview with me today. Alan Kealey asked me a nice range of questions from what my writing background was to what inspired me to write Wings of the Divided to what sort of advice I have for other authors. If you're interested, click -->here<-- to read it. While you're there, you can also check out some of the other indie books currently being advertised. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Texas Autumn Foliage

I love the way leaves turn such beautiful colors when we actually experience the season of autumn in Texas. (Many years, it just goes straight from summer to winter with little or no in-between.) Here are a few pictures I've taken from the city and the country, in attempt to capture part of the fiery array of fall foliage we've been lucky enough to have this year.





































Saturday, November 24, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Vengeful Bounty

Today I'm posting as part of Six Sentence Sunday, and the book this snippet comes from is my sci-fi action/adventure tale Vengeful Bounty. By the way, this weekend marks the novel's one-year anniversary! 





I published this ebook with Untreed Reads and opted to use the pseudonym Jillian Kidd. (I've toyed around with some different pen names before finally settling on my real name's initials: C.J. Sullivan.) VB was really fun to write. It's one of the few things I've written from a first-person POV. In this story, Mina Maxwell, redheaded bounty hunter extraordinaire, narrates her journey to gain "Global Status" so she can hunt the bad guys all over the world. During her tale, she kicks some serious butt, battles with some inner-demons, and dares to let herself love again after being heartbroken by a fellow bounty hunter. 

In this six sentences from the book, she and her bounty hunting baby brother, Colt, have just arrived at a club, where they're going to nab one of the bounties on the wanted list. Enjoy!

***

"I checked my cleavage for the mini laser gun I’d secured—still in place. I wish I had been able to carry an old-fashioned bullet-firing pistol as well, but the outfit wouldn't allow it. I liked to keep one as a backup in case the laser gun runs out of energy—the batteries in those things were cheap crap. You had to keep them on the charger all night for them to be worth anything the next day.

Colt stepped out and checked his appearance for flaws in the rear-view mirror and intensely arched his eyebrows and narrowed his eyes like he was some sort of supermodel getting ready for the catwalk. Brothers, aren’t they a joy?"



***


To read some reviews of Vengeful Bounty on Amazon click -->here<--.

To read a longer excerpt at the Untreed Reads Store, click -->here<--.

Happy birthday, Mina!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Woven"


At my dear ol' dad's request, here is the link to a piece of flash fiction I wrote a couple of years ago that got published by the online literary magazine The Molotov Cocktail. It's a super short story symbolizing the nature of greed, and it's titled "Woven." Click -->here<-- if you'd like to read it.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanks again for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving and Indie Author News Promo

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I hope everyone is in a grateful state of mind--not just this week, but all the time. Studies have shown that if people see life with a glass-half-full mentality, they are generally happier or at least more content with their lives.

It's so easy to focus on what we don't have, to obsess over the way things should be instead of the way they are. But when we get stuck in that mind-frame, we just make ourselves sick and depressed.

Just the other day, I was taking a shower, and I was looking at the fancy salon shampoo and conditioner I was about to use. And I thought, How could I ever think I don't have enough? Not only do I have shampoo and conditioner, but I get to pick out the kind I like! Some people, including the kid I sponsor in Zambia, don't even have soap. They are lucky to have a barrel of drinking water with a lid on it so the liquid doesn't get contaminated.

Take things into perspective. Often. The next time you're feeling sorry for yourself, look around. How much around you is purely luxury, solely things you picked out from a store, something that you wanted, or something that was given to you as a gift? Be thankful for all this. It's more than you need. All year around, be grateful, not just one day a year. You'll be amazed at how much your view of life changes...



One thing I am thankful for today is the great job Indie Author News did on a little promo for my angel book today. Do stop by their site to check it out -->here<-- and also feel free to browse the other cool indie authors and titles they're promoting.

And thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Car Intruders at Fossil Rim

Last year, my husband and I took a drive through Fossil Rim, which is basically an area filled with wild-life that you can look at and feed. You're not supposed to touch them, but sometimes they make it a little difficult not to... One deer in particular was quite the amorous soul. My Honda still sports scratches from his antlers, but that's okay. It gives my car character!


Here's Mr. Lover Boy closing in on my husband.




Drew couldn't get away!
You can't see me in the back seat, but I was rolling.




I finally tried to distract the deer.
Look at him scraping the side of my car to leave a lasting mark!
What a sweetie!




Mr. Zebra got jealous and had to see what was up.
This was not taken with a fish-eye lens by the way.




*Sniff, sniff, nibble nibble* Hondas taste good!



Say "Cheese"!



Click -->here<-- to check out Fossil Rim for yourselves!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

Today I'm taking part in a fun little opportunity for writers: Authors Tagging Other Authors. I was tagged by the fascinating Mr. Gary Markwick, and I am going to keep this thing going. There are four questions below, which I'm going to answer. Then, at the bottom of this post, I'm tagging five more authors who have the option to keep the chain going, if they want, by answering the same questions on their blog and then tagging five more authors. So...here I go!


1) What is the working title of your book?

Wings of the Divided


2) Where did the idea for this book come from?

When thinking of what sort of novel I wanted to write back in college, I decided I wanted to do a story about supernatural beings that that weren't as overdone as, say, vampires. (This was 10 years ago.) I always thought angels were really interesting beings in lore, but I didn't see much mainstream movies and books about them. I wanted to do for angels what Anne Rice has done for vampires. (Big goal, I know.) Plus, I have always been fascinated by the idea of Fallen angels and how they cannot be redeemed like humans can and how that must make them feel. I also wondered if certain angels of light would remember the Fallen when they were still "good," and if they wouldn't care, or if they would be secretly sorry their brethren were now unforgivable.


3) What genre does your book fall under?

It's a bit of a cross-genre book. Best way I can think to describe it is contemporary/urban fantasy.


4) Which actors would you choose to play some of your characters in the movie rendition?

I would probably pick a bunch of unknowns for my angels so they'd have a better chance at making their roles iconic. For a couple of my main human characters, I'd pick Johnny Depp to play Jack and Michael Caine to play Max.


And now for the set of authors I've tagged:

Elyzabeth M. VaLey (Erotic Romance)

Kris Noel (Young Adult)

Diane Rapp (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Jen Naumann (Young Adult)

Rachel Abbot (Thrillers)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Solar Eclipse

There will be a solar eclipse today, but unless you live in Australia, you probably won't be able to see it. Here's a simulation of what's going to happen:






In ancient history, eclipses were like these magical, feared occurrences, usually brought on by God or the gods, and they served as a sign for startling change. They were bad omens, thought by many to be a sun-devouring demon or dragon.

This eclipse makes me think of the 2006 movie Apocalypto. It's an amazing film--if you don't have a weak stomach, that is. (It appeals to my adventurous, tomboy side...that and I think Rudy Youngblood is a gorgeous guy. *Ahem*)





Monday, November 12, 2012

Unplug



If you're like me, you like to work hard. If you're a writer (or any kind of artist), you like to devote a ton of time and energy to your craft to the point that it almost borders on obsession. Also, if you're like me, you may work a day job, too, so that leaves you with very little YOU time.

Often I reach a point where I feel totally drained. I've given all of my energy to my day job or my writing. I spend countless hours on the Internet trying to respond to emails and Tweets and Facebook posts in a polite, timely manner. And I reach the point of getting burned out.

I have found that the best thing to do when you reach this burnout stage is to Unplug. If you have a day off from your day job, you don't have to spend every waking minute on your hobby. It's GOOD to get away from it all, to unplug your laptop, to (gasp!) turn off your cell phone! Just leave it behind for a little while--it'll be there when you get back; I promise.

Get out in nature, if you can. Take a walk. Or if that's impossible, go to a quiet room in your house where there's a window. Open the curtains and let the daylight in. Sit and let your mind drift away from all the things it feels chained to, and soon you might get an idea of just the thing you need to do to make you feel refreshed. Go with your instincts--unless they're saying to plug in and get back online. Don't do that. Rewind back to a time when we didn't have all this technological distraction. What did you do for fun back then? How did you feed your creativity? How did you nourish your soul?

That's what I'm doing today. I'm writing this post, and then I'm turning it all off. I'm going to clean house, maybe decorate a little, possibly go to the library. I'm going to paint my toenails and read a book and cuddle with my little weenie dog.

Don't worry, I'll be back, and probably sooner than I think. But bottom line is this: unplugging, even just for 30 minutes, is sometimes necessary. So when you feel stressed out, try having some YOU time, too!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Wings of the Divided






This Sunday I'm going to share six sentences from my novel Wings of the Divided. In this scene, little Fallen angel Kiazmo is musing on his deadly comrade Laphelle, about how powerful he is and why so many of the other angels (light and dark) fear him. Enjoy!









"While many of the angels of darkness had their weaknesses, be it sex or drugs or bloodlust or any other perverted addiction, Laphelle was slave to nothing. And he never lost a fight. The reason he was not a member of the Elite was not just because angels of First Rank were forbidden to rise to higher status. Rumor had it that Lucifer especially didn't trust him. There must have been something in the way Laphelle carried himself during the parades after winning battle after battle on all those distant worlds. Something in the way he refused the pleas of women begging to bed him during those victory celebrations, something in the way his eyes searched for more than just dark victory that made even the Devil himself uneasy."


Wings of the Divided is now available.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

19!

Why is the number 19 my favorite number today? Because history was made during the 2012 US Election, that's why! Click -->here<-- to see why 19 is so groundbreaking!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Decluttering: Before and After!

I love decluttering!

Ever since my mother-in-law helped me go through my own house last year and declutter and organize it, I'm hooked on the feeling of freedom it gives! I continue to work on my own home, but I also get great enjoyment out of helping my friends and family simplify their lives with this liberating process.

What decluttering does in a nutshell is this: it clears out the baggage from the past you, in order to open up the space for the present you to live today with more freedom and energy. It also helps you not go crazy from all the clutter around you!

Last week I went to visit my long-time friend Misty for my birthday. And while I was there, we started talking. What we'd originally planned to be a relaxing, chill-out visit turned into a back-breaking project to get her house decluttered and organized! But before you feel sorry for me, thinking that my weekend was ruined, know this: I wanted to do the work. I love doing it! And now, I am proud to share some "before" and "after" pictures of some of the areas we had time to do together.



First off, Misty needed an area to store some of the things in her house that she wasn't ready to totally get rid of yet. The garage was a great place for storage. Problem was, there was absolutely no room in her garage! We couldn't even get through the door. Check it out:



So we pulled out every tote and every bag and went through them, item-by-item. I had Misty divide these items up into different categories, such as Giveaway to friends, Donate to thrift store, Keep, Trash, etc. We rebagged and reboxed all the things, according to their new categories.

I would have liked to go through everything one or two more times to see clear out even more space, but we still ended up getting rid of a lot. This is a load we had her father come pick up to take to the thrift store--an entire truck-bed of stuff:



After reorganizing the garage, we actually had space to walk into it and store more items if needed:

(Look! We even had a friendly, little orb keep us company!)


Next up on the agenda was her work space. Misty is in the process of starting a tutu-making business called Chummy Mummy. I thought, if there's anything I do before I leave, I want to clear up a space for her to work on her tutus. So we started clearing out her office area. Here's how it looked when we first walked in:



And here's what it looked like after:



There was also an enormous, old desk on the right side of the room. It was doing nothing but catching things that needed to be organized and put away:



We organized all of the things that the desk had caught, and we simplified the space with a much more efficient table for tutu-making, as well as some organizational drawers and baskets on and beneath the table:



Also, here's what the left side of the room looked like originally:



And here's what it looked like "after":



That wooden cabinet you see (above) was a great storage space. Originally, Misty had stashed all of her old VHS tapes in there (VHS tapes which nowadays are obsolete and really need to be given away or put into storage), and this is what it looked like:



The cabinet now serves as a great, functional place for her to store her Chummy Mummy tools and supplies:




That was all I was able to help with, given the limited time I was able to be out of town. But after I left, Misty continued to work on her house. She was able to, all by herself, transform her baby's room from this...




...into this:




Great job, Misty!

And three cheers to decluttering and organizing! :-D

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Costumes 2012!

I was a woodland fairy, or the season of Fall embodied. Take your pick! 

(Tutu and some accessories by Chummy Mummy)


And here's Drew with this last-minute concoction! 

(Mustache by yours truly)


Ready for a night of fun!!





Kaiser got into the Halloweenie spirit, too! What a scary shark!




...Even though he wasn't that jazzed about his costume...





Hope everyone enjoyed Halloween 2012!