Author: cleasaal

The Forging of a Soul

The Forging of a Soul

Front page, Personal, pets
On March 29, as I was walking past a vacant lot, I heard a faint meow. In fact I heard three of them. The place was a jumble of weeds and tall grasses, with countless nooks and crannies. Not exactly welcoming, especially not considering that I live in an area that is crawling with venomous snakes... or at least that we have enough of those critters to make it seem like they are crawling all over the place. In other words, I could hear that there were at least three kittens in the bushes, but I couldn’t see them, and I had no way of knowing whether it was that someone had dumped an unwanted litter like yesterday’s garbage, or if it was merely the kittens of a feral cat who were not happy because momma had been out hunting for a little longer than she should have been, but would be back shor
When Words Get in the Way (or how NOT to fail at learning a foreign language)

When Words Get in the Way (or how NOT to fail at learning a foreign language)

Front page, Learning, eLearning, and Unlearning
A huge jumble of bricks does not a house make. That, I believe, is a statement we can all agree on. It is also a good explanation of why is it that most attempts at mastering a foreign language tend to fall short. In a nutshell, we tend to think of words as the building blocks of language, and when trying to master a foreign one our first instinct is to try to gather as many of those blocks as we can. In some instances that is not a bad idea. In others it is a recipe for disaster. The reason is simple enough: different languages are different, but they are not all different in the same way. If the language you are trying to master is close enough to your native one, then that words first approach may work, even if it leaves you with a few unusual linguistic quirks, but the farther afield...
Relaunching witha2ist

Relaunching witha2ist

Front page
No, I’m not dead, though I do realize that, after more than two years of silence, you probably thought I was. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some rather significant changes in my life --hence the hiatus-- and those changes will almost certainly be reflected here. To begin with I will be reorganizing what little content I had managed to post here. No, my books are not going anywhere, but other than that... well, let’s just say that it’s time for me to do some spring cleaning, not that there’s much to clean, not considering that this site was barely getting started when things went absolutely crazy on me. Going forward my goal is to try to keep a steady stream of posts coming, probably twice a week, though don’t be surprised if today proves to be a bit of an outlier with two --slightl
What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Front page, Personal, pet-peeves, rants
  A few days ago I tried to join Quora. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but instead I came across yet another unpleasant reminder of one of the most ridiculous aspects of my life. In a nutshell, the site insists on real names. I fact they are pretty adamant about it (facebook at least allows you to use the name you go by in your everyday life). That doesn't sound so bad, and considering its nature as a Q&A site it sort of makes sense, as it can help keep things honest. The problem is that I am one of those people for whom the very concept of a 'real name' is somewhat problematic. Why? Well, because I had the misfortune of being born in one of those countries with stupid laws that restrict the names parents can give to their children, and the name my parents had chosen ...
My adventures in language learning

My adventures in language learning

From the archives
Okay so I figured I might just as well write a short post to introduce what I hope will become one of the main features of this site: a section dedicated to language learning, which is one of my hobbies... and yes, I do realize that, as far as hobbies go, that one really needs to get a hobby. (more…)
On the (service) doggie wars

On the (service) doggie wars

From the archives
A few days ago I was fooling around in Buzzfeed when something caught my eye. It was one of those silly 'can you make it through this post without spending $50.00' listicles that link to a bunch of pointless things that look cute on screen but only add to the clutter out in the real world. I usually don't even bother with those, but this time around the picture was that of a dog wearing a service dog vest, and yes, among the items they were promoting was a fake 'service dog' vest. That gave rise to a rather lively comments section that was far more interesting than the so-called article, and that comments section in turn got me thinking, especially because when I came across that debate I was already looking into the impact of the changes in the role animals play in people's lives over the...
Esperanto

Esperanto

From the archives
Okay, so what could possibly have driven me to try to learn Esperanto out of all things? The short answer is that I'm not actually trying to learn the blasted thing, it's just that in order to check out duolingo (more on that in a future post), I did two things: first I took their placement quiz to see how it would grade me in a language in which I am fully fluent already, and then I signed up for a language I had never studied before. Seeing how Esperanto was conceived to be easy to learn, and hasn't had millions humans mucking  up its precious regularity by doing something as unnatural as actually speaking it on a daily basis, it felt like the safest bet. So how's that little experiment going? (more…)
Pencils 101

Pencils 101

From the archives
As some of you may know, a couple of years ago I got into a fight with my cover artist, one that not only caused me to lose one of my dearest friends, but also left me in something of a bind, as at the time I had two books that were ready to go to print, but no covers to go with them. This year, in an attempt to avoid a repeat performance, I decided to try to learn to draw. (more…)
Of Shards and Shadows (science fiction)

Of Shards and Shadows (science fiction)

Front page, My Books, Science fiction
Announcing a new addition to the family! Title: Of Shards and Shadows Author: Clea Saal Born: October 15, 2016 Genre: Science Fiction Format: Paperback Page count: 206 pages ISBN:978-1539499770 Price: $12.95 Note: This volume combines a fully revised version of the book originally released under the title of The Shadow Walker and its sequel, The Shard (and that, in case you were wondering, is the reason The Shadow Walker is missing from the list). (more…)
Talking to myself for fear of talking to anyone else

Talking to myself for fear of talking to anyone else

From the archives
Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I've been working on this website for a month, tinkering with countless little details, but dreading the day when I would have to tell others it actually exists. I don't know why am I so worried. I guess it's just that this is a big change. My old site was comfortable, familiar, and now I feel like I've just moved into this new house that looks nice, but where I'm not sure I know where anything is. Did I mention the fact that I hate moving? Well, I do, but it is something that I've had to do often enough. This is a different kind of move, so I'm writing a bunch of tiny posts that get deleted without ever seeing the light of day, but enough of that. The time has come for me to stop procrastinating, so tomorrow I'll let the world (or rather the three people ...
Empty Spaces

Empty Spaces

From the archives
Note: what follows is a re-post of a post that was posted to booksandtales.com a couple of years ago. Okay, so I finished a first draft and formatted it to get a general idea as to what the page count was likely to be. This is usually a fairly straight forward process, but this time around the results were kind of borderline. Font size is a known quantity, as is line spacing, but the margins are a different matter. I admit that with my longer books I try to keep them to a minimum in an attempt to keep the prices down (that extra space really adds up when you are talking about a book that’s more than three hundred pages), but at the same time I do realize that wider margins make for a far more pleasant reading experience. The thing is that while with shorter works that’s not usually
Someone’s missing from this book list

Someone’s missing from this book list

read, write, publish, repeat
Okay, if you've been following me for a while you may have noticed that there is someone missing here. That would be The Shadow Walker. The Spanish version is listed but not the English one, why? Well, because it is being effectively rewritten, or maybe expanded would be a better word. What happened was that I decided to write a sequel, but releasing a sequel to a 24,000 words long novella as a separate book felt more than a little silly, so I decided to rework the whole thing into a two part story that incorporates both The Shadow Walker, and its sequel. That one should be ready in a few weeks, though for the time being I chose to leave it out, especially because right now I'm struggling with the question of whether the new version should keep the same title, which I feel fits better, or ...
So how did we get to this point?

So how did we get to this point?

Front page, Personal, projects
Okay, so maybe I should be saying 'Welcome to my new home on the web!' or something along those lines, and I do welcome you, but I also wanted to take this opportunity to explain why, after so many years, I decided to move to a new site, rather than keep updating booksandtales.com as I had been doing since the dawn of the millennium. The reason itself is simple enough: in the fourteen years since that site came online the web has changed too much, and booksandtales itself has accrued too much dead wood. The problem is that it's a kind of dead wood I don't really want to get rid of, not entirely. There is the print on demand comparison, which is now ridiculously outdated, but which was once a useful starting point for people looking to self-publish, and also my early attempts at writing ...