Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Now Available: Iron Thirst

We will return to our regular scheduled broadcast shortly, but first, breaking news...

It's release day for Iron Thirst!

Funny thing, too! Last night, I finished all the steps to have it published, and the little message I received said it would take about three days. That seemed fine to me, because DragonCon is this weekend, and DragonCon was my goal. However, when I checked this morning, I was shocked to find it was already sitting happily on Amazon.

This was so huge for me. This may be one of the biggest TO-DO items that I have ever checked off of my list. Every year I get so mad at myself when yet another DragonCon passes and Iron Thirst still is just hanging out on my computer, completely left out of the party. This year it is dressed and ready to go.

Currently, only the Kindle version is available. You can download the sample to see if it's your bag.  I'm working on the details for the paperback version, and I hope to have that available soon for those of us who still prefer to dog-ear pages. I'm not leaving anyone out. Hell, once that happens, I can send a copy to my mom! Don't you think she would love to read about vampires, murder, and mayhem?! (No, no, she wouldn't. She will hate it. But, she would still be proud of it.)

So, if you have a few spare minutes toss this one in your "to be read" pile.

Adam Bristow is a sarcastic forensics biologist, who has been tasked to keep an eye on the vampires that are popping up all over DragonCon. He and his team are in charge of keeping the vampires a secret and not letting the costumed fans become lunch. Armed with wit, guns, and a stiletto, he realizes quickly that his team is outnumbered and headed for trouble, although he would never admit that out loud.

Meanwhile, looking for an escape from the norm, Felicity Johnson dresses for trouble, and finds it when she steps into the magic of this pop culture convention. The trip that started as a search for adventure leads her down a path that could leave her either dead or with the ultimate makeover, one that can only be undone with a stake to the heart.

Iron Thirst is a funny, murder mystery, with a love story.  

A special thank you so much to those who have already downloaded it!

You rock!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Iron Thirst: Coming Soon!

Don't forget to follow me at A Life Created.

Back in 2008, I went to DragonCon for the first time. It was an unique experience, as I had never been to any type of convention. I didn't know what to expect. But, I definitely didn't expect what would happen once it was over.

I made some comment about wouldn't it be cool if someone wrote a book about vampires going to DragonCon and taking their costumes off. They could just be free, because they would blend in with all the people in their glorious cosplays. Next thing I knew, I was building characters, plots and dialogue. Something I had never done. I always wrote, but never really fiction.

It took about a year to write the original version of the book, another two years to learn about writing books, and several edits later it still lives only on a hard drive. But that will soon change.
I want to set it free into the universe. It doesn't have to live in my basement anymore. I don't expect it to go anywhere, but I feel like it should have a chance to fly. Tons of people helped me grow this little thing, and Felicity, Bristow, and Blake want a chance to have their voices heard.

I tried to have it published about six variations ago, and had a bit of success when I tried again about two versions ago. It is now drastically better, because I poured hours and hours into editing it time and again. However, I don't really care about trying to have it published by a major house or anything like that. I've put enough energy into it, and now I just want to let it go so I can move on to other things.
I'm self-publishing through Amazon. I'm currently cleaning up the formatting so it's easier to read on a tablet. I'm only going to do an ebook for now, and I might have it printed before the next DragonCon. Who knows?

It's not overly deep, it's not even that great, but it's fun. Lol. Yep, that's my pitch.

Alright, alright, let me try that again.

It's a funny, murder mystery, with a love story that doesn't take itself too seriously. The story is told from two points of view. Bristow, a sarcastic forensics biologist, who has been tasked to keep an eye on the vampires that are swarming DragonCon, and Felicity, an awkward girl, who decides to step out of her boring life and into the magic of this pop culture convention. Of course, dressed as a vampire. Neither knew exactly what they were getting into.

I'll keep you posted on when it is released. I'd love for a few more people in the world to get to meet these people that currently only live in my head.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Identity: A Fresh Start


Identity: A Fresh Start

There are a lot of struggles when you go through a divorce, but a major blow is to your identity. You are no longer a spouse, and if you are female, there is a high chance that you will have to decide what to do about your name.

At first, I planned to keep mine--the married one. I, mean, my identity was very much wrapped up in it. I was a mom, a writer, and an employee. I had grown under that name. I blossomed. Most of my adult life existed under that label. But, after much consideration and about six months after the divorce, I decided to go back to my maiden name. I needed to embrace the truth that everything was different and therefore I was different.

It was so bizarre the first time someone called me Ms. Rhodes. I clearly remember thinking that familiar line, "Ms. Rhodes is my mom." But with this new name came a clean slate. A fresh start.
When you start fresh, you get to decide what your identity will become, because our identities are fluid. They are based on who we are now, and who we are aspiring to be. They are influenced by our past, but they are not our past. We do not have to remain the same individuals that previously existed. What we have lived through teaches us, and we have the opportunity to take those experiences and convert them into something fresh. Or, meh, we can remain the same. But, it up to us, because we are the ones to decide when to take action.

Everyone of us has the opportunity to start fresh in any given moment. We can stop the thing we are addicted to, we can start doing the thing we put off, we can learn about the thing we want to know, and we can decide to make a difference in the lives of others. It starts with deciding to do it. Then, with a little planning, much soul-searching, , and a ton of stick-to-it-ness, we can do the thing.
That is what I decided to do with my blog. I decided to start fresh. I posted for years (2008-2013) as AJ Frey. I did quite well. Not famous level, but I was part of a community. There were people who were very intrigued by my book, Iron Thirst.  After a while though, I found it too hard to keep showing up. I sat it down, and I put my focus and determination towards other things. (Capoeira, actually.) We can do this. Sometimes we realize there is another area of our lives that needs our focus, and our priorities shift. This happens for both positive and negative reasons. Maybe, we just need a fresh start.

When I decided to embark on this adventure, I felt that this journey needed its own blog under a new name since this whole thing is about building my new identity. (However, as you can tell, I'll share a few posts from the old blog from time to time.)

Next post, I will talk about my top 10 areas that need a bit of improvement. In the meantime, keep the conversation going below.

What are you missing in your life? What do you want to do better?
What bad habit are you ready to replace with a better one?
Who do you want to be?

****Be sure to follow my new blog. MY NEW BLOG: A LIFE CREATED ***

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hello, Stranger!

I have recently started up a new blog. Please swing by and follow me there!


I figured I would stop by over here and share the first post.

Hi, my name is AJ Rhodes

helloAllow me to introduce myself.  I'm a barely domesticated mom of two, holding down a full-time job, and a life that is a bit disjointed at the moment. I'm an addict of self-help books and am full of great ideas on how to improve other people's lives, but struggle with my own.

Now, I haven't always been a total mess. At various times in my life, I have had my shit together: checkbook balanced, dedicated exercise routine, time for friends and passions, a rockstar at work, a healthy eater, clean house, well-adjusted kids - all of it. I wrote blogs and books. I showed up to writing conferences. I practiced capoeria. I was the queen of How Does She Do It.

Then, about two years ago, my husband and I split up. We split up the belongings, the bills, the time with the kids -- everything. Damn near 50/50. It was the right decision, but often times, right doesn't mean easy. It is a unique experience to go from doing half the stuff 100% of the time to doing 100% of the stuff 100% of the time. There were things that I had to learn, and things I am STILL learning. Despite not being properly prepared to deal with it, things would pop  up and scream, "Um, well you have to deal with it--- so suck it up!"

It was like learning how to juggle all over again. I quickly realized that I had to put a few things down and just start with the basics. Kids, Work, and Home - those were the three things I needed to focus on. I had to put down writing, capoeira, exercise breaks, time with friends, etc. I was in survival mode.

Once I had my arms wrapped around that a bit more, then I needed to work on healing. I did this is a very private space. Alone.

I am now ready to move to the next chapter. To create a life that I love. One that includes the things that are important to me. I would love for you to join me. Maybe it will help you get to that next level, too. My goal is to share my struggles, my accomplishments, my writing, and my soul in the hopes of touching others who struggle with similar issues. In future posts, I plan to share books, music, articles, recipes, life hacks, inspiration, humorous stories, and most importantly, my truth.

Welcome to  A LIFE CREATED...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sometimes You Need Anthems

Straight to the music...

My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy

Battle Flag (Lo Fidelity Allstars remix) by Pigeonhed

Explicit lyric warning...



This Girl is On Fire (Inferno version) by Alicia Keys w/ Nicki Minaj

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Level Up Blogfest

Level Up Blogfest

Thank you to Mithrel Wisdom and Geek Banter for hosting the Level Up Blogfest. This is a great idea for blogfest. I didn't know what I wanted to write at first, but I knew I wanted to play.

I decided to take a look at what the phrase means to a writer, and I found a fun analogy. Hope you enjoy.


When you first start writing, you are not sure how to play the game. You've picked up the controller (the pen) and know that something is pulling you towards it. You want to explore it, see how you do. You press forward and as you come to obstacles, you have to learn how to leap. Oh, you get snagged by that first one, but you stand up, dust off, and try again.

As you navigate through the game, you gain experience. You get points for writing daily, points for editing, points for reading. Those things that once seemed so hard before, now are just tiny obstacles. It starts to become more difficult. Now you aren't just going through simple motions, you are attacking missions-- first draft, query letter, second draft, synopsis, third draft, agent, forth draft, publisher, fifth draft, readers. Each level a new mission.

Somewhere along the way, you realize that you can't beat it alone. You begin to search for other people on the same journey. A band of souls trying to survive each of those levels--just like you. You have to go into the vast web and find them, building a team. Next mission, blogging.

Once again, experience becomes a virtue. You start with just trying to first find that one reader, and soon you are excited about your next milestone. The first 10, the first 50, the first 100! You keep playing, gaining more knowledge, more skills, better gear. Tricking out your blog with gadgets and banners. Proud of all your accomplishments. All those points are adding up, and your momentum feels unstoppable after you step into your first blogfest, which feels like a room full of treasure. 

You were unstoppable, but something shifts. You hit sluggish parts of the writing. You feel you have been stuck on one part for far too long. You consider giving up the game. Walking away from all of your work, away from all of your hours of dedication, away from what you once couldn't imagine being away from.

Should you put down the pen?

No. You don't. You keep trying. You may fall down into the same pit, over and over again. But you keep pressing, "play again." You push and push and you break through. You level up.
Image from anarchycamp.tumblr.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just One Reason I Buy Art

 I am a firm believer in Karma. It's one thing, spiritually, that I have held on to no matter which book I was reading. It's a nice way for me to gut check throughout the day. Always asking, should I or shouldn't I? How would I feel if the situation were reversed? Empathy.

Photo property of LiciaJo Fotos
For that reason, I buy art. I try my best. I pick up random paintings that I need on my journey, I subscribe to music channels, I purchase books, my internet-based TV is legal, I am a member of NPR, and I pay for the songs that I listen to more than 7 times (with intent). I try my best.

I can't really call myself an artist. I've sold one photograph in my non-existant career as a creative individual. Everything I do is handed over to those who will appreciate it or not. I free balloons into the air, hoping one will catch a bit of wind and be carried further than my view. I love it. I do it, because I love it. When I bring a smile to a friend, when I make a new one, or when a stranger across the pond takes the time to say, "Cool!"--  my day is made.

But, I understand the desire to one day be dedicated to art. To live and breathe words, music, and images that expand the knowledge or view of a collective culture.To maybe even collect and connect cultures. A shared appreciation. To be able to call myself an artist in some form or another. This is why when given the chance, I buy art.

There are ways out there to listen, watch, and enjoy music and other art forms for free, and using these methods to explore and navigate through the vast amounts of material out there is needed. But knowing the difference between exploring versus taking advantage is key. Once I've decided I need that piece of art, I make the transition and money exchanges hands.

Music, specifically. I am enjoying writing about music. I am exploring songs out there in the never-ending internet jukebox. Each song that I've written about, I've made sure to download. During karma gut checks that is what I feel is right. And if I am recommending music to others, I should own what I say others should try. I also hope that others will appreciate songs and add it to their collection, while also helping add to the growth of the artist that created it.

I am not going to tell others to buy what I suggest, but I will mention my thought process in hopes of a gentle nudge towards a shared viewpoint. Many of you out there that read my blog also create. You also want to grow into an artist appreciated by a collective culture. You also want to be appreciated for your efforts. Do you buy other people's art?  When you do, do you feel more connected to the person that created it?What is your philosophy on buying art?