Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Confessions of a Failed Blogger

Way back at the beginning of May, I made a post with a short survey asking folks what they would want to see on this blog. The idea was to get ideas for content and have a feature at least once a week. Well, it is now the middle of July and as you can see, I've done nothing.

I'm simply not a blogger.

I tried. I had ideas. I had themes. I even had some posts that would give you an extra little bit of insight into how my brain works. But what I don't seem to have is time.

Now, this is not the end. I'm keeping the blog. For now, at least, while I try to decide if it would be better to have a website (because, you know, those aren't work or anything). I'll continue to host indie book launches, interviews, and promos just as I have in the past. But you probably won't see too many hot sports opinions from yours truly.

Except this one: it is said that an author "needs" a web presence, either in the form of a regularly maintained blog or a flashy website. To that I thumb my nose and give other rude gestures. I don't follow rules. Especially when it comes to being an author. I know there are those who would judge me for this and I know plenty who think they are better for following the "rules." To those people, I simply say have fun on your journey.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got my next book to write. You can at least expect a blog post when I've got more to say on that. ;-)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

What Am I Even Doing?

Every so often, I toy with the idea of setting up a proper website. There's a lot I'd like to do and this blog has a couple of limitations. Not to mention the fact that I am a sporadic blogger at best. But a website is an expense and I'm not in a position to be adding extra expense to my life, so instead I'm​ considering a few regular features that will keep things fresh and keep me in something of a regular blogging schedule.

Which is why I would like to ask for your input. Below is an outline of some weekly features I'm thinking about adding, followed by a quick survey to gauge interest. I would appreciate any input you are willing to give.

Once a week blog features:

Crap about Christina
Okay, I probably won't call it that, but basically a once a week update on what I'm working on, any big news I might have, or what I ate for breakfast. Basically a semi-narcissistic post that on most weeks will likely be two sentences about how my brain isn't cooperating.

Book Recs
This would actually be a static page with a list of books (and series) I adored, but each week I'll pick one to focus on and tell you a bit about.

Free Books
Once a week, I'll list some books that are currently free with links to Amazon. My books may be listed, but mostly this will be books by other authors. Of course, I'll always post large group events like the SIAFBB events, but this would be on a much smaller scale.



Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Space Girl from Earth: Cover Reveal and Special Announcement

Hi Everyone! Today I'm excited to finally, after years and years of talking about it, introduce you to Princess Robot Commander! That is, I'd like to introduce you to Ellie Whitmore, a young woman who is more of a curiosity than she'd ever thought, which is saying something! 

For this series, I've commissioned artwork from Missy Sheldrake for the covers. I wanted something that captured the retro feel of the paperbacks I used to devour in my youth, and I think she captured the spirit of those covers better than I could have ever imagined. Now, because of the detailed artwork Missy made, I decided we needed to do two separate covers. One for the paperback, and one for the Kindle edition. First, here's the paperback cover:



As you can see, there is a LOT of detail here. From the blue-painted tips of Ellie's fingernails right down to the Easter Egg laden doodles on her Chucks (including a robot who might be just a tad familiar to readers of this blog), the image exudes so much personality and I absolutely LOVE how she made Ellie come to life. But for the Kindle Edition, there was no way people would see all of that detail in Amazon's tiny thumbnail. So we concentrated instead on Ellie's face:



Zooming in brought out all of the amazing features. I adore Ellie's expression of awe and wonder. I mean, who wouldn't be blown away and overwhelmed to see outer space for the first time?

So! What's it all about, you ask? Well, here's the book's description that will show up on the product page:

Yesterday, her biggest worry was failing an exam. Today, it's saving the galaxy.

Ellie Whitmore is no ordinary girl. Even if her parents weren’t internationally famous celebrities, her six foot four inch height and oddly spotted complexion would make her stand out in any crowd. But never would she have guessed she was an alien from far across the galaxy. Or that hidden within her genetic makeup lies the Kyroibi: an ancient and powerful relic housing the forbidden knowledge of her people.

Knowledge some would sacrifice everything to possess.



Worse, it isn't just the malevolent Emperor who wants the Kyroibi. Her own mother can't resist the draw of ultimate power and the one person Ellie might be able to trust is an unrepentant assassin who may be responsible for her life’s upheaval. Now, she must travel to a distant planet and unlock the secrets to restoring peace and ending tyranny. But how can anyone expect her to save the galaxy when she can’t even pass organic chemistry?


Sound interesting? A Space Girl from Earth, The Kyroibi Trilogy Book One will be available on May 15th. It's available for pre-order now, but...
For one day on Friday the 19th, it's going to be FREE! 
Yes! Crazy, isn't it? But this is my gift to you, the awesome folks who are always the first to read and review my books. And you're helping me as well! I mean, by all means, throw money at me if you'd like, but by grabbing the freebie, you are helping elevate my book up the ranks, which means it will get into the hands of even more readers. Readers who might stick around and snap up the rest of the trilogy! 

So please, mark your calendars for
May 19th
and help me spread the word! 

In the meantime, I've got a three chapter preview available to anyone who wants one. I can can send you a PDF or Mobi (kindle) file via email. There is supposed to be a preview on Goodreads, but as of press time, this had not yet shown up.
UPDATE! Goodreads has the preview! 
Just fill out the form below and I'll send one over.  



More updates!
Missy has written a great post about the process of creating the cover. Read all about it here and check out the cool video showing how it was done! 

Also, Ember Raine Winters has done an excellent character interview with Ellie. Get to know more about my reluctant protagonist here!

Thanks again, everyone, for your continued support of Indies! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dangerously Beautiful Blog Hop

Hi Everyone! Today I'm spreading some indie love for some lovely indies who happen to be authors of all things love. Ember and Amanda are not just fabulous authors, but also two of the nicest gals you'll ever meet, and they happen to have new books to celebrate. So without further ado...

✰ Welcome to the Dangerously Beautiful Facebook Hop, organized by Ember-Raine Winters and Amanda Siegrist to celebrate their new releases, Beautiful Sacrifice (Pride & Honor - Book 2) and The Danger With Love. ✰

To help celebrate, 23 amazing Authors and Bloggers are joining us for some fun! Discover your new favorite blogger and share the love of books, or find a new author with a great story just waiting for you to read! Hop around to each page for games, fun, and prizes. You won’t be disappointed! Romance fun at its finest!

Since we're celebrating romance, I'm giving away one Kindle edition box set of my sci-fi romance trilogy, The Eyes of The Sun. For a chance to win, just visit the Amazon giveaway page. (This is a sweepstakes style giveaway. Every ​eligible entry between now and 11:59pm PDT April 20th will be entered for a chance to win. Amazon picks the winner at random. There is no purchase necessary and this giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook.) And since I believe in making sure everyone is a winner, I'll let you in on a secret: the first book in the trilogy is free tomorrow! That's it, no strings attached!  Thanks for stopping by!

The next stop on the Dangerously Beautiful Hop is Pretty Little Book Reviews - Visit that page for more fun and prizes!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the grand prize of the event! One winner will be chosen at random to win a signed paperback copy of Beautiful Delusions (Pride & Honor - Book 1) and The Danger With Love AND a $30 Amazon Gift Card.
Enter here
You’ll have a chance to enter from April 20, 2017 12:00 AM EST to April 25, 2017 12:00 AM EST. This giveaway is not affiliated or associated with Facebook whatsoever. Good luck and have fun!

Here's the list of all blogs and Facebook pages participating. Make sure to visit them all!

Sib-Diary of a Book Addict - http://www.facebook.com/diaryofabookaddict
Scarlett Redd-Naughty Nightie Book Blog - https://www.facebook.com/nnbookblog/
Clare Roden-Clare’s Mad About Books - https://www.facebook.com/ClaresMadAboutBooks/
Stacey L. Atwin-Sassy Book Club - https://www.facebook.com/SassyBookClub/
Elle-Pretty Little Book Reviews - https://www.facebook.com/prettylittlebookreviews/
Amy-The Genre Minx Book Reviews- https://www.facebook.com/thegenreminxbookreviews/
Dianne-Tome Tender Book Blog - https://www.facebook.com/TomeTender/
Emma Johnston-Ever Growing Book Obsession - https://www.facebook.com/evergrowingbookobsession/
Elle-Southern Bred and Read - https://www.facebook.com/SouthernRead/
Chez Freeman-1 Girl Lost in Romance Books - http://www.facebook.com/1girllostinromancebooks

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Not So Average Girl Next Door

In sci-fi, especially young adult sci-fi, there are tons of tropes. One of the most overplayed is the average and completely unremarkable protagonist suddenly emerging from their ordinary and bland shell to be the chosen one who saves the day. There has to be. Right? Don't we all want a character we can identify with?

Maybe.

What's ordinary? What's average? Me? I'm about as average as it gets until I stand up and reveal to the world that I'm a literal giant. I absolutely cannot relate to those tiny little spitfire protagonists who stand all of five feet four.

And so, I don't write average. Well, there was Renee Ward in Kind of Like Life. Renee was described as average, but she wasn't chosen to save the world. Lucy, from The Eyes of The Sun, was a little less average having grown up in the shadow of DC, with an unusual appearance, and suffering from poor little rich girl syndrome. She doesn't save the world, but Lucy was definitely of the chosen one variety.

But neither of them have anything on Ellie. Ellie Whitmore is very extraordinary. She's the daughter of celebrities. She's six feet four inches tall, and she has spots. Not freckles, spots. All over her face and hands are white dots that stand out against her dark complexion. She is as extraordinary as they come and she is tasked with saving not just the world, but the whole galaxy.

So why? Why make this crazy out there character living a one in a million life?

Because relatable is as subjective as anything else in fiction. You may not relate to a tall freak of nature, but I do. I can't relate to being famous, well, at least not yet, eh? ;-)

I try to give all of my protagonists extraordinary traits for one simple reason: so that when life throws them a curve ball, they don't end up heavily medicated in a mental health facility as I'm certain I would if I was tasked with going from zero to save the galaxy in a single plot twist.

But Ellie isn't a cool cucumber. Her first order of business when she finds out Earth may not be her native planet is to have a major panic attack. Which is one of the reasons I like her. She's not of Earth, but she's human. I can't wait to share her story with you all!

For now, you'll have to settle for this teaser, which includes a small excerpt from the book and a small teaser of the cover art:


Intrigued? I hope so. Later this month I'll be excitedly revealing the Kindle and print edition covers along with the description, so make sure to keep an eye out! 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

#SIAFBB Spring Forward Book Attack Is Coming soon!

Hey everyone!

Look what's coming!!!

http://events.supportindieauthors.com

Support for Indie Authors is proud to announce our first Free & Bargain Book Event of 2017. For three days, beginning on Friday, March 31st, we will be featuring more than 100 free and 99¢ Kindle ebooks by our independent author members in a wide variety of genres. 

Some books will be available all weekend, but some will be sneaky ninjas, only showing up for one day. Me? I've got a grand total of SEVEN books in this event, SIX of which will be FREE. But... I'm not telling you which ones or on what day. You'll just have to go to our EVENT WEBSITE each day and find out. ;)

Want to make sure you don't miss this or future sales events? Sign up for our newsletter and we will send out an email on the morning of the event reminding you to stock up on your spring reading. 

The tiny ninjas compel you!

As always, thank you for supporting our Indie Authors! See you Friday!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Hangin' Out with Calvin Westbrook: Urban Fantasy Author

Today I’m continuing with my streak of conversational indie author interviews. My latest victim… ahem, guest, I mean, is LGBTQ Urban Fantasy author, Calvin Westbrook. I sat down with Calvin to discuss his books, his love of the supernatural, and finally reveal to the world exactly how it is genies are allowed to grant wishes.  

Christina McMullen: Hi, Calvin! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Let's go ahead and get the easy stuff out of the way: tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Calvin Westbrook: Hi Christina, It is my pleasure to talk to a fellow author. My name is Calvin Westbrook, and I mostly write supernatural urban fantasy with hints of homosexual romance.

I published my first eBook on Amazon back in 2012, after I had some brief experience with FictionPress and Smashwords. Before I decided to publish my original work, I wrote several pieces of fan fiction based on the Harry Potter series, and various other franchises such as the UK version of Being Human.

CM: Interesting! Urban Fantasy is a favorite genre of mine. I like the melding of supernatural with the everyday modern world. What's your draw to this genre?

CW: My love for this genre probably started when I started watching TV shows with superntural elements such as Charmed, Buffy and Mirror Mirror. The last of these is a little known New Zealand produced drama with a mirror that provided a link between 1995 and 1919.

I've always had a love of discovering that new species of creatures exist, or finding magical items that can change the very core of reality. So I guess putting the two into our reality is a way of compensating for the fact that the real world sometimes needs a little bit of magic.

CM: Okay, I'm going to go ahead and say I probably know this one, but what's your favorite supernatural creature?

CW: I guess it isn't exactly a secret. My answer would have to be genies. There is something very intriguing about a being that can alter the universe depending on their own desires, or those who make a wish to change their own lives. There is the slightly disadvantage of the living quaters being a little spacially challenged in some mythologies, but I like to bend those rules a little bit so they have room to breathe.
If genies do breathe that is. Not entirely sure if they would need to.
If they did exist in our world that is.
In second place, it would have to be were-shifters such as wolf shifters and lion shifters. In third place, it would be the humble vampire.

CM: Okay let's talk about the genies (I was right! I win a cookie!). You mentioned altering the universe to their whim. That's an interesting take. I always wondered if genies had the ability to just pull things out of thin air or do they have to play by the rules of science? Where do you think the wish fulfilment comes from?

CW: The way I see it, they have been given the powers of the universe that was left over from the creation of the world. There isn't really a science to it, as the amount of logic needed to decipher the chaos of a wish would probably drive even the smartest person insane.

I guess what I am saying is, I think that the magic comes both from the person making the request, and the genie who is making their dream a reality. :)

CM: So, if you had just one wish, what would it be? ;)

CW: To be able to transport myself anywhere in the world within a few seconds. There is so much beauty on our planet, and thanks to the rising costs of travel, it would be a shame to not be able to see it all.

CM: Oh! I like that answer! If I ever run across a genie, I might steal it. Though knowing my luck they would be one of those trixie types who would make me a flight attendant. :)
So your new book, genies or no genies?

CW: There are several genies involved in A Treasured Find, but only a few of them drive the plot forward. I specifically chose not to put them in the description of the book, so they would be a surprise to the reader when they turn the page. 
Hopefully a pleasant one, unless they have the image of Jonathan Freeman instead of Robin Williams.

CM: Oops! Spoilers then!
But there are plenty of other types including witches, right?

CW: Absolutely. There are witches, sorcerers and an especially hunky merman on the menu.

CM: Hunky mermen. Now there is something you don't see every day. This is intriguing! Tell us a little about what this story is about.

CW: A Treasured Find focuses on Caleb Grimaldi, a young witch who has been outcast from the magical world after his family commited a heinous crime against the magical community. He has been forced to become the fiance of a sorcerer named Michael, who is essentially a heartless man who will do anything to get his own way.

In order to make ends meet, Caleb works as a caretaker at the magical academy owned by Michael's family, and as a treasure hunter unveling magical artefacts.

Caleb is invited to attend a treasure hunt by Zarik Zenbar at his island home. The man is a world class treasure hunter, and is rumoured to hold very powerful artefacts.
Along the way, Caleb encounters one of the afforementioned genies, and things take a turn for the intense to say the least.

CM: Intense! I like intense!
And as I hear it, you have some original art of some of these characters, including hunky mermen on your website?

Calvin Westbrook
Indeed I do. Some of the characters were co-created with a friend on deviantArt named AuldMisdone, and we collaborated together to afford pictures of the characters we imagined. I think you will agree that they all are splendid pieces, especially the one with Caleb's first meeting with the genie in question.
In case you are curious, the genie's name is Varron Sevarine, and he is the prince of the Northern Kingdom. In the book world, that is the main home of the genie species as a whole.
(Christina’s Note: You can go check all that out here:

CM: So now that we've talked about the books, how about we talk about the writer? You mentioned Harry Potter fan fiction, so I can assume you've been writing for a while?

CW: For several years yes, I think since I was in primary school. I also remember drawing levels for Sonic the Hedgehog games in my spare time. None of them were especially amazing, but they definitely inspired my creative flow.

I didn't start writing fiction with gay characters until I read my first eBook with gay characters in it. That honour goes to a novella by Shelley Munro named Last Wish. As you might guess. it contained a genie. His name was Zane in case you are wondering. The story opened my eyes to a literal new world of experiences that I could not have pictured before.

CM: This is why I love ebooks and indie authors in general. There's so much creativity within the community. And we are definitely seeing a lot more gay and otherwise underrepresented characters now.

CW: Absolutely. It is great to see characters who are just like everybody else, instead of the stereotypes that have flooded the mainstream channels for several decades.

I would like to make a shout out to a fellow authors named CB Archer and Dawn Sister, who have been instrumental in giving me the courage to continue writing, as well as the motivation to produce this book which I have been working for a few years. And of course yourself Christina

CM: I've heard of that CB character. A ruffian if ever there was.

CW: Indeed he is. A slippery elf to be sure when he doesn't use protection. :)

CM: I'll have to check out Dawn Sister as well.

CW: Thank you, I'm sure she would love that.

CM: So I've noticed that you've skillfully swerved away from my intention of asking more about the author. How very author-like of you. So aside from writing, what are your interests? Go any fascinating hobbies or a secret life we should know about?

CW: My other hobbies include video games and cooking delicious food. My favourite game series include the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, particularly Persona, the Sonic the Hedgehog series and the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

CM: Oh! Games! I like games! Even if I was terrible at Sonic. So one last silly question: You're sucked into a videogame and there is no genie around to help you cheat, but you can bring a merman companion for the water levels. What game do you find yourself in and what random object are you holding that becomes your primary weapon?

CW: It would definitely have to be the Persona 4 world, and my weapon would be the Bus Stop Sign that you can fish out of the river! :) 

CM: That is definitely random!
Well Calvin, thank you so much for putting up with me.

CW: My pleasure Christina. Thank you for allowing me to chat to you. 

CM: Calvin’s latest book, A Treasured Find, is now available on Amazon. You can also find Calvin on Twitter and Goodreads